The gender gap in computer science is a well-known problem that manifests itself in various areas of society: significantly more males than females study IT-related courses, work in IT companies, and participate in activities with an IT focus – such as the nationwide computer science competitions.

What are the reasons for the low participation of girls in the nationwide computer science competitions – which, in addition, decreases with the increasing age of the participants as well as the increasing number of rounds? What recommendations for action to improve girls’ participation can be derived from this? These are the questions nexus is investigating as part of a study for the German National Computer Science Competitions (BWINF). The findings will be used to close the gender gap in competitions.

A mixed-methods approach was chosen for the study: over 3000 young people aged 10-21 were interviewed about their interest in computer science, gender role models, stereotypes, and – if they had ever participated themselves – their experiences with the competitions. In addition, two focus groups were conducted with former participants, ages 9-19. These served to gain a more detailed insight into participants’ lives, experiences, and barriers to participation. At the same time, recommendations for action were developed here by the participants themselves in order to solve the problems/ hurdles identified. The participants were thus not only questioned, but also involved in a participatory manner in the development of solutions.

The published study can be found here.

A summary of the study can be found here.

An article from the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI) discussing the results of the study can be found here.

Duration: 09/2021 – 01/2022
Clients: Bundesweite Informatikwettbewerbe (BWINF)
Team: Kerstin Franzl (Project manager), Theresa Dolinga, Amy Winkler

Picture: Sigmund / Unsplash