Aberystwyth University department most gender diverse in UK

A selection of conference attendees at the virtual BCS Lovelace Colloquium 2020

A selection of conference attendees at the virtual BCS Lovelace Colloquium 2020

28 January 2021

Aberystwyth University’s Computer Science department is the best in the UK for gender balance, according to a new report.

Research by digital security firm CrowdStrike has analysed the top 25 Computer Sciences departments in the UK to reveal which have the highest female representation among their teaching and research staff. 

Aberystwyth University comes in first place in the study with the most gender equal Computer Sciences department - a third of teaching and research staff are women.

The report also notes that Aberystwyth University has more female staff members than male across all its departments, with its most recent annual equality report stating that 51.9 percent are female.  

Dr Christine Zarges from Aberystwyth University warmly welcomed the recognition of the computer science department’s work:

"We are absolutely delighted by this news. This is a real testament to the hard work of all those at the University who have strived for greater equality over so many years, and continue to do so. Equality and diversity is a priority for everyone here at the computer science department – it really is a whole-department effort. These efforts have been recognised and we are the first department in the University to hold a Bronze Athena SWAN award. As the report rightly points out, young women studying computer science benefit from having female role models. We have a very progressive equalities action plan and a very active women’s group here. We also run the annual BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium which brings together women students, senior women in technology and employers. These initiatives are all making a difference and paving the way to greater equality.”

According to the report, the underrepresentation of female academic staff in the Computer Sciences in the UK is fuelling a vicious cycle in which young women are dissuaded from pursuing a career in the growing field and miss out on highly paid and in-demand positions. 

Research shows that compared to other STEM subjects, Computer Science is lagging behind in gender equality – just 13 percent of Computer Science undergraduates in the UK are women. But with female role models, girls are 52 percent more likely to stay in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. 

Dr Zarges added:

“While we do take real satisfaction from our top ranking in this report, we still have a long way to go before we achieve true equality. As one of the leading computer science departments in the UK, we are keen to work with other universities to share best practice. We recognise that gender inequality needs tackling right across the higher education sector.”

Dr Anwen Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor with responsibility for gender at Aberystwyth University, added:

 

“I am delighted by the Computer Science department’s success. There can be no doubt that the visibility of female members of staff in the department has a positive impact on student experience and satisfaction. It also contributes to building confidence amongst female students in their own futures and employability. Aberystwyth University is committed to building on this outstanding achievement to develop gender equality across the institution. I am happy to play a part in that process alongside Professors Neil Glasser and Colin McInnes.”