Fewer British women studying computer science than in 2010

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Fewer women are studying computer science at UK universities than five years ago, figures reveal.

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The gender gap among British university students has widened in courses including software engineering, information systems and combined computer science courses.

It appears that fewer women are studying computer science at UK universities than five years ago, according to UCAS figures.

Overall, the prevalence of new courses (like gaming and graphics) to meet the growing demand for technology skills has steadily increased over the last five years.

Yet the ratio of women accepting a place on a computer science-related course in comparison to men has decreased every year.

In 2010, 14% of computer science students were female. Despite initiatives to get more women into STEM subjects, by 2014 the amount of female computer science students had dropped to 13%.

Gaming is the only branch of computer science to attract more women year-on-year, since the first university course opened in 2012. Back then, 455 male students took up a place, versus just 45 women. Last year’s UCAS figures show that 215 women had enrolled on a course (along with 1,620 male students).

The latest figures from the Institute of Engineering and Technology show that women make up just 3% of IT and computing engineers in the UK. Like university course acceptances, the number has stagnated for five years.

Government initiatives to turn this gender gap around are in place, including the mandatory coding curriculum in UK schools, introduced last year.

Other schemes, including projects to give away free Raspberry Pis and BBC Micro:bits in UK schools, hope to get both young boys and girls interested in computer science in the classroom.

However, the tech industry has been criticised for its lack of female board members both in the UK and internationally, which leaves girls and women with few figureheads to look up to. 

Infographic designed by Lis Evanstad

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