Conference Proceeding

Participant-centred planning Framework for effective gender balance activities in tech



Taylor-Smith E, Barnett C, Smith S, Barr M & Shankland C (2022) Participant-centred planning Framework for effective gender balance activities in tech. In: Quille K, Maguire J & Becker B (eds.) UKICER2022: The United Kingdom and Ireland Computing Education Research Conference, Dublin Ireland, 01.09.2022-02.09.2022. New York: ACM, pp. 1-7.

The gender imbalance in the tech industry [21], mirrored in computing education [13], is problematic in terms of providing appropriate products and services for the whole population. This lack of diversity and inclusion is also self-perpetuating through gendered stereotypes of computing and women's experience of male-dominated work and study environments [4; 7]. Activities to break this cycle aim to encourage women and girls to study computing and pursue careers in digital [18]. This paper presents a new tool: a framework to support teams to design successful activities. The research study aimed to identify factors for success, with a particular focus on using of role models. A typology survey was designed to capture structured descriptions of activities; an online survey asked female and non-binary computing students about their role models and motivations for choosing computing, including any activities to encourage them into computing/STEM; and organisers from successful initiatives were interviewed. The study revealed a wide range of activities, with many potential success factors, but a dearth of rigorous evaluation. The Participant-Centred Planning Framework was developed from the study's findings. Its aim is to support effective design of engaging activities, and collect evaluative evidence over time. This framework was successfully piloted with organisers of initiatives to encourage girls into computing/STEM. Pilot study participants appreciated the framework's structure, guidance, and participant-centred paradigm. The study indicated that the framework could also support activities targeting other currently underrepresented groups. This paper presents the initial study, the pilot, the framework, and plans to extend its use.

FundersSkills Development Scotland Co Ltd
Publication date online01/09/2022
Place of publicationNew York
ConferenceUKICER2022: The United Kingdom and Ireland Computing Education Research Conference
Conference locationDublin Ireland

People (1)


Dr Camilla Barnett

Dr Camilla Barnett

Honorary Research Fellow, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology