Virgin: 'Astonishing' Lack of Women Studying IT at University

By Annifer Jackson

Fewer than 18 percent of undergraduates studying computing are women according to research just released by Information Age, something which Virgin Media Business finds ‘astonishing’.

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At a time when STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects are increasingly at the top of the educational agenda, it seems not enough is being done to encourage young women into studying IT in higher education.

The information, revealed via a freedom of information (FOI) request, found that just 18 percent of students enrolled in computing courses in the 2014-15 academic year. This compares to the 19 percent that graduated from computing degrees in the last academic year and 20 percent the year before.

Responding to the findings, Gerry Arthurs, Virgin Media Business’s education lead said:

“It’s astonishing that well under a quarter of those studying computing at university are women, given the increasing recognition about the importance of STEM subjects by the government and the introduction of coding into the national curriculum, and within industry at large.

“Technology is incredibly important in a modern education and it needs to be across the board, from primary schools all the way through to further education in universities and colleges.

“It is essential that people aren’t put off from pursuing the careers they want, or are denied a competitive advantage, due to a lack of digital or technical skills.

“Technology is at the heart of every successful business so it’s bad news all round if people, male or female, feel that they can’t or don’t want to study subjects like computing.”

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