Guest post by David Wells, Senior Lecturer, Secondary ITT, University of East London
Six female Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) student teachers lead an evening session to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day; Dana Addo, Jagdeep Matharu, Melissa Thomas, Hamda Ahmed and Sabrina Sahebdin.
They talked about Ada Lovelace and her later followers. They researched current female involvement in technology, giving an enlightening overview of their history.
Melissa and Dana pointed out that women hold only 28 % of IT jobs and discussed the possible Influences on this. They suggested that from their research it’s very strange because 92 % Year 5/6 girls enjoyed IT and 86% wanted to continue to study the subject in secondary school but only 3 wanted to undertake it as a job.
They had researched a range of initiatives to try to counteract the stereotyping of women in IT, including:
Geek gurl diaries: This is a website designed and managed by an ex UEL student IT teacher, Carrie Anne Philbin. She has set up a network for students and professionals and has written and published resources for teaching IT and Computing.
Following this Stacey Pogoda, a UEL Senior Lecturer in Gaming and Games Design, told her personal story and that of others who have been persecuted for being women in the field of IT and Gaming.
The trainees made a powerful case for using female role models when teaching classes about IT and Computer Science. They offered advice about how to encourage primary school girls to enjoy and take up the subject.
They finished by saying “We think making a difference begins at school.”