Women in Computing


There’s always been a lack of women within the computing sector and being one of the few myself, you certainly notice. Three of the most well-known women within the subject are Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and Joan Clarke; the first programmer, first creator of a programmer language compiler, and a in demand World War Two Cryptologist respectively.


Grace Hopper – A leading light in Computer Science. Source: Intel.com

Despite such influential women, the subject became male dominated during the early 80s as computing software and industry rapidly advanced. The profession was best suited to those who had previously studied the sciences, primarily males. A 2007 Stanford study showed women are less likely to join a field where they feel they don’t belong and are outnumbered; which shows,especially within our own University. In the last five years the Computer Science department has seen a maximum of 19 females enrolled in a Computer Science degree compared to over 200 males; a figure which has consistently been less than 10%.

Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer. Source: danpontefract.com 

Computing is ingrained within the minds of millions as being a subject for men. Perhaps we should be promoting programs to target this misconception, especially with Computer Science being added to the National Curriculum this year. The demand for young people who have studied Computer Science is ever increasing. The time to remove the gender stereotype is now.
Written by Laura Haigh, third year Computer Scientist & President of the Computer Society at HUU.

Laurence Cresswell

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