Diversity and Inclusion in Software Engineering

Reports are clearly showing that the pandemic has particularly negatively impacted women in the workplace, and most affected are mothers, executives and black women. The work-life balance is significantly harder to maintain in virtual working environments. In engineering we have made slow but steady progress in women’s representation, but the pandemic is widening existing gender differences; a recent UK study shows that a higher proportion of girls/young women than boys/young men saying the pandemic has made them more likely to work in healthcare, while the gender distribution is reversed for engineering and technology fields.

This project aims to contribute knowledge and practices to retain young women in engineering during university education and support women in the virtual software engineering workplaces. We tackle questions such as:

1) How can we teach computer science concepts such as abstraction, so that it becomes less intimidating, dry, but is more appealing and inspiring to young women?

2) What are some of the challenges specific to software development virtual working environments? Going forward, what are some of the best practices in which organizations have, or can adapt virtual workplaces to offer women a flexibility while fostering creativity and productivity?

Collaborators

Kelly Blincoe, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Zainab Masood, Post-doctoral Fellow, SEGAL Research Group, University of Victoria

Kezia Devathasan, NSERC Undergraduate Research Assistant, SEGAL Research Lab


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