Nov 4 – 8, 2019
Adelaide Convention Centre
Australia/Adelaide timezone

Unplugged Computing for Children

Nov 4, 2019, 2:15 PM
Riverbank R1 (Adelaide Convention Centre)

Riverbank R1

Adelaide Convention Centre

Oral Track 8 – Collaboration, Education, Training and Outreach Track 8 – Collaboration, Education, Training and Outreach


Hannah Short (CERN)


The number of women in technical computing roles in the HEP community hovers at around 15%. At the same time there is a growing body of research to suggest that diversity, in all its forms, brings positive impact on productivity and wellbeing. These aspects are directly in line with many organisations’ values and missions, including CERN. Although proactive efforts to recruit more women in our organisations and institutes may help, the percentage of female applicants in candidate pools is similarly low and limits the potential for change. Factors influencing the career choice of girls have been identified to start as early as primary school and are closely tied to encouragement and exposure. It is the hope of various groups in the HEP community that, by intervening early, there may be a change in demographics over the years to come. During 2019, the Women in Technology Community at CERN developed two workshops for 6-9 year olds, which make the fundamental concepts of computer science accessible to young people with no prior experience and minimal assumed background knowledge. The immediate objectives were to demystify computer science, and to allow the children to meet a diverse set of role models from technical fields through our volunteer tutors. The workshops have been run for International Women’s Day and Girls in ICT Day, and a variation will be incorporated into the IT contribution to CERN’s Open Day in September 2019 (where both boys and girls will participate). We will present an overview of the statistics behind our motivation, describe the content of the workshops, results and lessons learnt and the future evolution of such activities.

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