Girls into Computing Science

  • Susan Thomson

    I am concerned about the number of girls who are choosing to study Computing Science. In recent years my Nat 5 and Higher classes have consisted of mainly boys  with 1 or 2 girls (sometimes no girls at all). I am at loss to understand why this is the case. I have attempted to make my coding lessons ‘girl friendly’ in the years leading up to subject choices, to no avail. We are not short of female role models as most of our computing staff are female. However, I believe that there is still a misconception that Computing Science is for ‘geeks’ and ‘gamers’.

    I am interested in the work carried out by ‘Girls who Code’ in the USA and would like to investigate the possibility of being involved in something similar in Scotland/UK. I am unable to find any evidence (online) of any similar schemes in the UK. There are organisations who target adult women but I am interested in targeting girls of primary/secondary age.

    I would love to hear from anyone who is involved in any similar schemes, or has heard of any, as I am considering running a girls’ coding club next session and would love some ideas on how to approach this.

    Susan Thomson

    Vale of Leven Academy




    Hi Susan

    You will find a Computing Club for girls at the following address
    This venture has been running for a few years now although I think it is mostly in England. Re a coding club, I tried to create a girls only club a few years ago and got negative responses with the junior school. Pupils advised me that they did not want a girls only club – maybe hormones kicking in. This is an on-going problem and yet girls tend to do very well in computing qualifications due in part to their diligence and studying approach. One option may be to highlight the use of computers in business. A large number of girls see themselves going into business related roles without realising the extent that technology plays in industry.
    good luck Jean

    David Jack

    I have no hard evidence that it works, and it is something I am keen to continue promoting within the school but I try to add as much creativity and personalisation and choice into my lessons as possible for the girls.

    For example I have a girl who is writing a python program that will ask the user to enter in a root note and the program will then display the 3rd, 5th and 7th note. We came up with the “personal” project together and no one else in the class is working on a similar program, they have personal projects of their own.

    The girls might not be interested in hardware or games, but by showing them that they can use software to create tools for what they are interested in helps.

    HTML seemed to be very popular with many of the girls, especially changing the colours and adding pictures. Again, I let my pupils create a website on a topic of their own choice (within reason).

    Erik Stevenson

    I had the following as an email the other day, as I too have had the same issues, I’ll be attending the Inverness Hub event. (I hope this is ok to post)


    Following on from the success of our Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together event in November, the Digital Technologies Skills Group are running two follow-up events:


    Glasgow 29th March – This event is suitable for any organisation looking to address the tech gender gap including schools, colleges, universities and employers. It will feature a range of best practice, case studies and workshops.


    Inverness 30th March – We are running a hub event which will focus on attracting females into tech studies and employment. Open to HE/FE and tech employers.


    Information and links to register for both events below. Thanks

    Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together 2017

    Wednesday 29th March 2017 – 09.30am until 2.30pm (including lunch and networking)

    University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre

    99 George Street


    G1 1RD


    This event will share good practice, advice and guidance for you to actively encourage more women into technology.  During the event you will hear from schools, tech clubs, colleges, universities and employers who have all been successful in engaging and supporting females into digital technology.  Ms Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Science, will also present a ministerial address highlighting the importance of tackling the gender gap.

    This is an opportunity to:

    • Hear about best practice from organisations who have been successful in encouraging females in to digital technology

    • Attend workshops that will allow you to discuss and learn more about these successful strategies and how you can incorporate them into your own plans

    • Network and form new partnerships with organisations who could support your own gender plans and strategies

    • Discuss how we can jointly work towards making a real and lasting impact in this area


    To secure your place at this event please register here where you can view agenda and workshops

    TTGGT 2017 – North Hub

    We are running a ‘hub’ event in Inverness the day after the event in Glasgow.

    Thursday 30th March 2017 – 1pm until 4pm (including lunch)

    Highlands and Islands Enterprise

    An Lòchran

    10 Inverness Campus


    IV2 5NA

    Our hub event will focus specifically on how to attract and retain women in the technology workplace and onto digital technology related courses at College and University. You will have the opportunity to hear from speakers from the Glasgow event as well as a taking part in a round table discussion to share best practice and network with businesses from across the North of Scotland.


    More details to follow but to secure your place now, please register here


    Thank you


    Ketty Lawrence Project Manager -Digital Skills

    Mobile Number 0782 7801 174

    Lync 0300 013 2192

    Skills Development Scotland Leasachadh Sgilean na h-Alba

    Monteith House, 11 George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DY – The help you need for the career you want. – Making skills work for employers. – Find an apprenticeship. Recruit an apprentice. – Making skills work for Scotland.


    Erik Stevenson

    Sorry when I sorted the HTML tags issues I thought I had put back in the links but I forgot the event registration pages:


    Glasgow – register here

    Inverness – register here

    Susan Thomson

    Many thanks for letting me know about this event Erik. I have booked a place for the Glasgow event.


    Susan Thomson

    Iain Purdie

    Thanks, Erik. Hope to see some of you there – I’ve been given the day as CPD.

    A shame it’s *just* after our course choice deadline but hopefully we’ll be able to start applying any tactics and techniques for next year. I’d love to have our S3-S6 classes as close to 50:50 as possible.

    Erik Stevenson

    Susan and Iain, you’re both very welcome, I hope it’s of some use for us all!

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