Contribution Complete Research Paper
Fürstenberghaus - F103
24 - Diversity and Inclusion in the IT workforce
If Girls Aren’t Interested in Computers Can We Change Their Minds?
- Julie FISHER
- Julie FISHER (Monash University)
Despite significant efforts and many intervention programs over the years to encourage girls to study computing we continue to see a declining interest in computing by girls. Girls’ lack of engagement with technology at school is resulting in fewer women interested in an information technology (IT) career and entering the IT workforce. To address this declining interest of girls we implemented a longer term intervention program called Digital Divas. The program ran in secondary schools over four years. It included specifically designed teaching modules intended to engage girls and excite their interest in IT and included role models for the girls. Data were collected through pre-and post-surveys, focus groups and classroom observations. In this paper we describe how, through Digital Divas, we were able to increase girls’ interest in IT as well as increase their confidence with IT. We conclude with a model which identifies the components for implementing a successful school based intervention program. Our research highlights that a long-term intervention such as Digital Divas can result in a more sustained change in girls’ perceptions of IT. A key finding is that girls will enjoy studying IT if it is presented in a way that resonates with them.