New Study Reveals Strategies to Bridge Gender Gap in Computing Education

Gender equity in computing continues to be a critical concern in the STEM landscape, with persistent disparities despite advancements in other fields. In a groundbreaking new study funded by the National Science Foundation, Florida State University researchers delve into the effectiveness of interventions aimed to address this imbalance.

Titled "Computing Education Interventions to Increase Gender Equity from 2000 to 2020: A Systematic Literature Review," the study offers a comprehensive analysis of strategies aimed at promoting gender equity in computing education. The research team meticulously reviewed 168 studies, identifying 48 that met rigorous inclusion criteria. The study can be found in the Review of Educational Research.

Lara Perez-Felkner"Addressing gender disparities in computing is not just a matter of equitable access to educational opportunities to learn and participate in this important workforce sector; it's crucial for driving innovation and meeting the challenge of rapid technological change," said Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Sociology at Florida State University. "Our study delves into the interventions designed to create more gender-inclusive computing environments and examines their effectiveness."

Key findings from the study include the identification of various intervention strategies across educational levels and occupational domains. These strategies aim to cultivate gender-inclusive computing environments, but the study underscores the importance of discerning which approaches are most effective and scalable.

"Through our systematic review, we aimed to address pressing questions regarding the efficacy of interventions in creating inclusive spaces for girls and women in computing. Our findings provide valuable insights for policymakers, educators, and stakeholders seeking to advance gender equity in computing education," added Dr. Kristen Erichsen, Senior Data Scientist and co-author on the study.

The study introduces a comprehensive framework for gender equity in computing, expanding on existing theories to encompass new domains representing social and structural momentum. By evaluating the quality of evidence from interdisciplinary peer-reviewed literature, this research offers a roadmap for future interventions and research endeavors in this critical area.

Perez-Felkner and the research team anticipate that their findings will inform policy decisions, curriculum development, and institutional practices aimed at bridging the gender gap in computing education and the workforce.

About the FSU College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

The College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences is the second-largest college at Florida State University and was ranked #6 among all public colleges of education and #14 overall by the U.S. News & World Report in 2024. With more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,600 graduate students, more than 200 faculty and staff, 36 scientific laboratories, three K-12 laboratory schools, and over $65 million in annual research expenditures, the College has experienced significant growth. It is now positioned as one of the major engines for economic development and scientific discovery in Florida’s panhandle region. CEHHS faculty members are also nationally known for research on relationships and families designed to inform public policy, the influence of diet and exercise on chronic disease and aging, educational leadership, sport and exercise science, and adolescent development.

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