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How can we encourage more women to study computer science?

Women are widely underrepresented in Computer Science. We will consider why this is a problem from a societal, institutional, and individual level.

In 2015, only 10% of students on ITU’s Bachelor of Software Development were women. ITU decided to do something about this and a number of initiatives were launched. Now, the percentage of women has risen to 23% (in 2020). We will present an overview of ITU’s efforts to address this gender imbalance in computing.

Also, we will present brand new research on how to change educational activities so that they appeal more to women.

Finally, we will show the effect of ITU’s onboarding initiative BootIT and how this connects with increasing diversity.

The talk is based on joint work with among others: Melissa Høegh Marcher, Ingrid Maria Christensen, Therese Graversen, Pawel Grabarczyk, and Sebastian Mateos Nicolajsen (all from the IT University of Copenhagen).


Head of Center for Computing
Education Research (CCER),
IT University of Copenhagen


Claus Brabrand holds a PhD in Computer Science from the BRICS International Research Center at Aarhus University (January 2003).

He is the writer, director, and co-producer of the award-winning educational short-film “Teaching Teaching & Understanding Understanding” (2006) used around the world for educational development. Since 2007, he has been an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, conducting research within the area of Programming Languages, Program Analysis, and Software Product Lines.

Parallel to this, he has worked with Educational Development and "teaching teachers to teach", both at ITU, nationally, and internationally. He has done a number of keynotes within this area. He has designed the educational materials for most of ITU's main initiatives aimed at increasing student diversity; in particular, the recruitment, onboarding, and retention of women on ITU's Bachelor of Software Development. He is now working exclusively with Computing Education Research and heading the recently inaugurated Center for Computing Education Research (CCER) at the IT University of Copenhagen.

He is the (first) recipient of the Danish National Teaching Award 2020 (Undervisningsprisen) awarded to two out of approximately 18,000 university teachers in all of Denmark).