The University of Southampton

ECS and IBM encourage girls to consider careers in computer science

Published: 
5 July 2012
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An innovative activity to encourage girls to consider careers in computer science has been designed at ECS (Electronics and Computer Science) for an event held this week at IBM, Hursley. The ECS activity was part of Think.IT, a two-day event organised by IBM and designed to encourage secondary school girls to continue studying computing, engineering, technology, and science, and to consider careers in the IT industry. The girls, aged 11 to 14, were drawn from 10 different schools in Hampshire and surrounding counties. A team from ECS, led by Dr Reena Pau and Dr Yvonne Howard, organised a drama-based activity which enabled the girls to learn about leading figures in the development of computer science. The girls were challenged to create short plays about famous female computer scientists – including Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Mandy Chessell, and Professor Dame Wendy Hall (ECS).

The girls were also asked to outline their vision of the future of computer science and technology, including new inventions they would love to have. These ideas included hologram people, a super-watch, and a way for thoughts to appear on paper without writing.

The girls’ responses to the activity were enthusiastic: “I’m really glad I came,” “It was great fun,” and “I really enjoyed it," were just some of the comments made on the day.

Dr Reena Pau, who devised the activity theme, commented: “The girls loved it because it brought women’s contributions to technology alive.”

Both IBM and ECS are committed to encouraging girls to choose STEM subjects for careers, and to increasing the number of girls studying STEM subjects at university.

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