[Edu-sig] Girls, women and Programming (- and Python)

Gregor Lingl glingl@aon.at
Sun, 04 Aug 2002 02:22:49 +0200

Hi Pythonistas!

I'm currently preparing some introductory material
to programming for young people (13-17 years approx.),
and for this Python is my language of choice.

I'll do it in German and I hope to get it published, as there is a
very severe lack of material of this kind in the German speaking
countries. (On the other side Python still is not very well known
at least among teachers in Germany - so it's quite uncertain who
will be willing to study such things. Nevertheless trying to make
Python more popular is worth the effort.)

Of course many important questions concerning this activiy turn
around in my head, and among these there is one problem, which
I consider to be especially important but don't know how to tackle it.
I'll formulate two questions:

1) Why are there so few girl and women interested in programming?
(look, for instance, at the list of partiicipants of all those mailing 

And consequently
2) How do I get them interested? Which kinds of material, approaches,
examples etc. are appealing to female students?

Do YOU have any experiences concerning this question. Jeff Elkners
Python-Video implicitly adresses this problem in a very fine way, choosing
a girl as the main propagator of Python.

On the other hand looking at a video and reading a tutorial text are
different things -

so possibly your opinions, experiences and hints
could help me to adress this problem in my work.
I would really wish to make programming more interesting,
enjoying and challenging to female students.

Thanks in advance for your replies

Gregor Lingl