Computer science is currently not only the least popular science chosen for study in the UK
But also a science in which boys outnumber girls by about six to one. This is according to recent research from BCS British charity dedicated to generating enthusiasm for the study of technology-related subjects. “Computer science (or its equivalent) seems to be the least popular science subject. And there is reason to try to understand this and raise its profile and appeal”, the conclusion section relay.
As for the ratio of participation of men and women,
It “in some cases can exceed 10:1″, the study notes. And “while a 2:1 male-to-female ratio was not unusual in older information and communication technology (ICT) curricula. The shift to a more computationally-oriented approach has led to an increase in the imbalance: most often to about 5-6:1 level.”
It also highlights that, specifically in England,
“The male-to-female participation/award ratio deteriorates markedly from Tier 2 to Tier 3”. Why is it so important how many women choose to study IT, you ask? The work is still going on, right? The problem arises because “teams that develop, say, the use of AI in medicine or algorithms that affect our financial lives or job opportunities need to be diverse in order for the results to be fair and relevant to everyone in society.”
Fair point, although the binary nature of these specific results makes me wonder how representative the numbers can be for a wider range of genders. Either the study only gave participants the choice of male or female, or the space clearly lacks transgender, non-binary, and other genders. In any case, something needs to change. While all of this paints a rather sad look at the future of IT, there are some positives to be drawn from the findings.
Register who drew our attention to the study notes that UCAS –
The UK university admissions service – has seen a steady increase in the popularity of technical subjects over the past decade. The study also shows that “employers and policymakers are increasingly recognizing the role of digital qualifications and awards,” meaning that employers are more likely to ignore the lack of traditional physical diplomas when considering potential employees.
So, while there are many imbalances and a sharp lack of interest – especially given that we live in an age based on information technology – BCS makes suggestions on how best to solve problems. Recommendations include the formation of a “task force” to understand and study equity, diversity, and inclusion in computer science qualifications. This, along with “regular reviews to clarify the computer science and digital skills ecosystem” and more, could lead to an increased profile of the specialty and a focus on equality.