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Females in computing: Understanding stereotypes through collaborative picturing

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Computers & Education Volume 126, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This study investigates attitudes and perceived stereotypes that children have towards female computer scientists. Research was conducted within 2 high schools in Scotland across 7 workshops including 96 participants. Stereotype patterns and social expectations were identified giving insight into gendered world views. Data was derived through picturing. Collaborative picture drawing, as a means to investigate multiple opinions, is a powerful activity that has the capacity to break down barriers of education, language and culture. By use of content analysis on 24 workshop pictures three key areas were identified as significant when determining attitudes towards computing as a career choice for females; gender stereotypes, role models, and media influence. The conclusion determines there are stereotype misconceptions regarding physical appearance, personality type, and digital ability projected onto young females. These can influence their academic decisions resulting in poor uptake of computing science as a career choice. We determine that Computing Science is seen as a male gendered subject with females who select to work or study in this field having low self-worth, a sense of being different, a sense of being atypical, and a sense of being unattractive We further determine that positive role models and positive gender balanced media influences can broaden identities in computing.


Berg, T., Sharpe, A. & Aitkin, E. (2018). Females in computing: Understanding stereotypes through collaborative picturing. Computers & Education, 126(1), 105-114. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved June 1, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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