Barriers to gender diversity in software development education: actionable insights from a Danish case study

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This paper contributes to the growing literature on the gender gap in computer science education by focusing on an exploratory case study conducted at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), Denmark. The specific objective of this study was to draw on existing research in order to empirically investigate the main socio-cultural barriers to female participation in the bachelor of Software Development at ITU, and to generate insights that would inform concrete and effective interventions. This investigation takes the form of an exploratory case study, providing insights into influential factors such as students' perceptions, attitudes and behavior towards software development education and gender differences in pre-university coding skills.

Empirical evidence has been collected through semi-structured interviews with 38 students (undergraduate and high school) and surveys with 395 students (undergraduate and high school). Research findings from the study have subsequently informed the design of local interventions that have led to the recruitment of double the percentage of women in the bachelor of Software Development at ITU in one year, from 11% in 2016 to 22% 2017. The study also describes and discusses such interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication ICSE-SEET '18: Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering Education and Training
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

ID: 255889951