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Gender Issues in HE

The eLC will be discussing Gender Issues in HE

Cloud created by:

Julie Norton
15 February 2017

The focus of the second e-learning community e-LC event for 2017 will be on gender issues in HE with four linked presentations.  

Where: Library Seminar Rooms 1 & 2

When:  10:00-12:30, Tuesday 21 February 2017 


10:00     Arrival and introductions 

10:05     Title - Initiatives in Gender in STEM  (Katie Chicot,  Mathematics and Statistics, STEM) 

In this talk I will review some research in gender issues in STEM. Then I will talk through resources we have developed and disseminated through Open Learn. Together with Clem Herman Katie produced a Badged Open Course to support people returning to careers in STEM. A light version of the course,  intended to be used on module devices, was also produced. These resources will be combined with other support for people returning to careers in STEM in a new project.            

10:40     Gender Equality in Computing & IT (Magnus Ramage,  C&C, STEM) 

‘Girls can code’, according to a recent campaign and television series. Yet for large proportions of women, computing & IT subjects have been profoundly off-putting. This talk will examine why that matters, to both women and men, to the wider economy, and (more parochically) to student numbers on one of the OU’s largest programmes, in Computing & IT. I will discuss the student numbers on different parts of the OU’s curriculum, examined in some detail for the successful Athena SWAN bid from the School of Computing & Communications, compared to good practice in other institutions, and try to draw out some of the issues in gender equality for computing & IT 

11:15     Coffee Break 

11:30     Why are women making different choices in computing and IT study?  (Elaine Thomas,  C&C, STEM) 

Despite numerous initiatives aiming to increase participation, the number of female students studying for computing degrees is falling across the entire HE sector. Recent data on the percentage of women registering on the Open University’s Computing & IT degree suggests that the issue is one of recruitment rather than of retention. The data also shows that a lower proportion of women register for the single honours Computing & IT degree than for the joint honours or the open degree. This suggests that women are making different choices about computing degrees from male students. This presentation reports on initial data from an eSTEeM-sponsored project that uses focus groups and survey data to explore gendered differences in study motivation across the different computing-related degree programmes.

12:00     Athena SWAN:  advancing the careers of women academics working in STEM areas  (Jane Wardale,  Research and Academic Strategy Unit) 

In this presentation, I will give a brief overview of Athena SWAN, and the OU’s involvement in it, before exploring how the OU has responded as an institution to the Athena SWAN challenge.  In particular, I will describe some of the practical initiatives and measures that   have been introduced, and how they have made a difference.  Finally, I will look at the ways in which the Athena SWAN scheme is changing, and at the opportunities that represents for the OU.  

As always you are welcome to attend for all or part of the session. We try to stick to timings to enable you to do that. 

If you are planning to attend in person, please email   

Details of previous events, slides, etc., can be found on our Cloudworks page, and recordings of many recent events are also available via Stadium.

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