Once she makes it, she's there! A case study

Judith Gal-Ezer, Tamar Vilner, Ela Zur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computer science is possibly one of the few remaining disciplines almost entirely dominated by men, especially university staff and in the hi-tech industries. This phenomenon prevails throughout the western world; in Israel it starts in high school, where only 30% of students who choose to take computer science as an elective are women, and continues in university and college, where usually less than 30% of the entire computer science student population is female. In this paper we present data describing women taking the undergraduate computer science program at the Open University of Israel. Covering a period of 10 years, we have examined the enrollment and results of thousands of students on 20 undergraduate computer science courses. An attempt has been made to identify whether there is a specific stage in the undergraduate program which is more difficult for women to pass. The good news is that within the Open University of Israel out of the entire population of computer science students the percentage of female enrolments and the percentage of females graduating is almost the same, and the differences in average final grade between men and women are generally not significant. This study is unique because of the large number of students which served as the study population, covering the entire undergraduate program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
JournalComputer Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Cs
  • Female retention
  • Gender


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