Gender in Computer Science and Classics

Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.


In September 2015, I found myself in what was, for me, an unprecedented situation: the boys in my Computer Science class outnumbered the girls. The difference was not a significant one – six boys to four girls – but consider this. Of the 180 students in my year, only around 20 are boys, a fact that makes the gender composition of my class even more troubling. I have had a very fortunate upbringing; I never felt my gender held me back, having attended same-sex schools until Sixth Form. The gender gap was simply not something I considered when making my IB subject choices. It was not until this moment that I began to understand that I am unusual in both computer science and in classical studies; unusual because of my gender.

For the two subjects I am most passionate about to be lacking a female voice is disappointing, not just in terms of the obstacles this may create for me, but what the fields are losing by having predominantly male input. A one-sided perspective in classics hinders our understanding of female authors, such as Sulpicia, and how women lived in the ancient world. The lack of diversity in computer science is resulting in a failure to account for female perspectives, both when creating software for the public (the...

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