It is well-known that girls are not interested in computer science, information systems (IS) and software engineering studies. While the underlying reasons for this phenomenon have been studied in the US, Canada and Australia, only a few studies have been carried out in Europe and none in Scandinavia. To fill this gap in the research, we have analyzed the qualitative responses of 64 female sixth-form students concerning their attitudes towards studying information technology (IT), including Computer Science, Information Systems and Software engineering disciplines, and their views on IT as a profession. The results suggest that the IT field is seen in quite a positive light by the girls. Although many of the respondents do not consider IT to be their profession, they nevertheless have positive attitudes towards the field. According to the respondents, the field is growing and developing; it is respected, and seen as the field of future. Girls who want to become IT professionals see that the profession entails good employment possibilities and benefits and is respected. Some girls have negative views towards the field. These views illustrate the underlying reasons that these girls do not want to study IT. These girls did not perceive the field to be human-related (the work is only computer-related, according to the respondents). The need for skills in mathematics and physics are also listed as key reasons that some girls do not want to become IT students The results of the study suggest that there is a need to clarify among sixth form students the fact that IT jobs can be divided into computer science, information systems and software engineering, all of which require different competences.
Leiviska, K. and Siponen, Mikko, "Attitudes of sixth form female students towards the IT field" (2006). ECIS 2006 Proceedings. 187.