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Durham University

Durham University News

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We’ve doubled our number of female computer science students

(21 September 2020)

Did you know that just 13 per cent of students studying computing, gaming and related degrees in the UK are female? And women only account for 17 per cent of the tech workforce?

We’ve been working hard to change this and create more diversity in both education and the tech industry.

And we’re delighted to say that the hard work is paying off with 45 female computer science students joining us this year, compared to 22 last year.

Team work

We couldn’t have made this progress without the support of our external advisory board, which includes high-profile industry experts, and our staff and students. It’s truly been a team effort.

Our Computer Science department has worked tirelessly over several years to tackle the under-representation of women studying and working in technology.

Here’s just a snapshot of some of our initiatives and activities:

  • The Dame Stephanie Shirley Annual Lecture, funded by Google and delivered by Dame Stephanie Shirley, a renowned business person and pioneer in information technology.
  • Regular talks from leading figures in the tech industry, including our own Professor Sue Black and Professor Alexandra Cristea.
  • Students have also attended international tech conferences and set up the Durham University Women in Tech society, which aims to improve accessibility for women from all different backgrounds, particularly under-represented groups.
  • TechUPWomen, a cross-regional (north and midlands, UK) programme to recruit more women into the tech industry.

Supporting student scholarships

We’re also working to support students from low income, under-represented backgrounds to create opportunities in technology through our scholarships.

In 2019, we received a $3.5m dollar donation from Netflix pioneer and Chief Product Officer, Dr Neil Hunt, to establish the Hunt Programme.

The donation has been instrumental in expanding another of our scholarship programmes, the Anne-Marie Imafidon Scholarship, which aims to diversify the technology workforce and encourage more women into leadership roles in the tech sector.

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