Understanding and Addressing the Gender Gap in Computer Science

This project is part of the Gender Tech Lab at the United Nations Institute for Computing and Society, where I spent the summer of 2018 as a visiting research fellow.

This work was done as part of the EQUALS: Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, a coalition of programs across different stakeholders including governments, private sector leaders, NGOs, and communities dedicated to promoting digital gender equality in ICT access, skills, and leadership.

As part of this research, I collaborated with Dr. Araba Sey to research the gender gap in online developer communities, which may be both a symptom and a possible contributing factor in the gender gap in computing writ large. Preliminary analyses of survey data from several large online developer communities can be found here, and some early results from these were included in a preliminary report from the EQUALS Partnership Research Group.

In another part of this work, we developed and deployed a survey to leaders and members of technology innovation hubs in over 300 hubs across over 45 countries in the Global South. The rhetoric used by proponents of tech hubs argues that they provide a welcoming community for co-working, incubating startups, and providing computing and entrepreneurship courses. However, the reality of the experience for many women at such hubs suggests otherwise. This work attempts to help better understand the perceptions of hub leaders and members of the gender gap at their hub, the nature of the environment or climate at the hub, and identify some barriers to participation and potential remedies to address the gender gap in tech hubs. This work is ongoing, and we hope to submit a paper on it to a conference soon! Stay tuned!

EQUALS Research Group (2019, to appear). Taking stock: Data and evidence on gender equality in digital access, skills, and leadership. Preliminary findings of a review by the EQUALS Research Group. United Nations University, Institute on Computing and Society. [pdf]