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Participant-centred planning framework for effective gender balance activities in tech

Taylor-Smith, Ella; Barnett, Camilla; Smith, Sally; Barr, Matthew; Shankland, Carron


Camilla Barnett

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Prof Sally Smith
Head of Graduate Apprenticeships and Skills Development and Professor

Matthew Barr

Carron Shankland


The gender imbalance in the tech industry [21], mirrored in computing education [13], is problematic in terms of providing appropriate products and services for the whole population. This lack of diversity and inclusion is also self-perpetuating through gendered stereotypes of computing and women's experience of male-dominated work and study environments [4; 7]. Activities to break this cycle aim to encourage women and girls to study computing and pursue careers in digital [18]. This paper presents a new tool: a framework to support teams to design successful activities. The research study aimed to identify factors for success, with a particular focus on using of role models. A typology survey was designed to capture structured descriptions of activities; an online survey asked female and non-binary computing students about their role models and motivations for choosing computing, including any activities to encourage them into computing/STEM; and organisers from successful initiatives were interviewed. The study revealed a wide range of activities, with many potential success factors , but a dearth of rigorous evaluation. The Participant-Centred Planning Framework was developed from the study's findings. Its aim is to support effective design of engaging activities, and collect evaluative evidence over time. This framework was successfully piloted with organisers of initiatives to encourage girls into computing/STEM. Pilot study participants appreciated the framework's structure, guidance, and participant-centred paradigm. The study indicated that the framework could also support activities targeting other currently under-represented groups.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name The United Kingdom and Ireland Computing Education Research (UKICER) conference from the UK ACM Special Interest Group in Computing Science Education Chapter (UKICER 2022)
Start Date Sep 1, 2022
End Date Sep 2, 2022
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2022
Publication Date 2022-09
Deposit Date Aug 8, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2022
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Book Title UKICER '22: Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on United Kingdom & Ireland Computing Education Research
ISBN 9781450397421
Keywords Gender balance, role models, women, stereotypes, evaluation, EDI
Public URL


Participant-centred Planning Framework For Effective Gender Balance Activities In Tech (accepted version) (570 Kb)

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