On this page, you will find information about our SIGCSE 2024 paper 'Gender, Social Interactions and Interests of Characters Illustrated in Scratch and Python Programming Books for Children'. You can find the full research paper in the ACM Digital Library (open access).

From an early age, girls may opt out of Computer Science (CS) for not fitting the CS stereotypes of being male, asocial and technology-oriented. These stereotypes might be strengthened by children's books on programming, but little is known about this. Therefore, this paper explores the gender, social interactions and interests of characters illustrated in ten popular extracurricular Scratch and Python children's books. We found more masculine than feminine characters in all but one book. Furthermore, nearly half of the characters are illustrated alone, and 15% are interacting with computers & robots. Over two-thirds of the characters fit at least one stereotypical trait. With this paper, we aim to create awareness of stereotypes in CS books among creators, publishers and buyers. Making and using more inclusive CS materials will help close the gender gap.

This paper is written by Shirley de Wit, Marcus Specht, Felienne Hermans and Efthimia Aivaloglou

The slides used at the SIGCSE 2024 conference can be found here . The presentation is created with Procreate and Keynote.

If you have any questions or if you want to talk about our study, feel free to contact me.

Towards Open Inclusive STEM Education

During the presentation, we also mention the project 'Towards Open Inclusive STEM Education' that we are currently working on. With this project, we want to support and educate teachers on the meaning of inclusive education, provide them with the tools to implement this knowledge, and collect open education resources and examples that they can reuse in their own education. We want to make the barrier to creating and using inclusive education as low as possible and show that, even with small adjustments, you can work towards more inclusive education. If you are or know someone who is putting diversity, equity and inclusion on the agenda and/or into practice, then please feel free to connect and share your experiences. This project is funded by the Open Education Stimulation Fund.