computer science


I am a computer science student at a UK university. To give you an idea of the ratio, there are 32 girls and 224 boys in my course. I have had lecturers make jokes on maths getting girlfriends, lude images (and even pornography) posted on the group chat showing women in a vulnerable position, people suggesting female lecturers should be sucking dicks, male lectures using ‘he’ when someone gets code right and ‘she’ when someone gets code wrong. The one time I had a female lecturer, the boys in the group chat created a ‘thirst count’ where points would be added every time the lecturer made them ‘thirsty’ for her (i.e. laughed) or one of them tried to flirt with her. In this group chat the men use nicknames like ‘titty titty bang bang’ or ‘milks his mum’. 6 months ago I tried bringing this up with the university. The he/she lecturer, instead of making a promise to not do this in the future, instead asked me to go through 24 hours to lecture feeds to find the specific time it happened, then tried to tell me he was drawing from a real world example. When I tried to report the pornography pictures anonymously, an email was sent out about appropriate behaviour on group chats and two people were called into an office and told not to do it again. In my opinion, this is not enough. I confided in one friend that I reported it and he told me I should have told the students reps it was me because they were nice people and ‘they’ll probably be okay with the fact you reported it’. Even though the group didn’t know I reported it, this was the response of the chat: ‘Guys honestly this is disgusting – whoever snitched – grow the fuck up. If your life and personality are so sad and boring that you get off snitching on someone because of a picture I pity you. Honestly people like you make me sick.’ The group chat name was also changed to ‘Snowflakes Anonymous Year 1 Racist Meme Shitposting’ in retaliation. I’ve tried to fight back. I really have. But when you hear this every day and no one does anything about it, it wears you down. I’m not looking to make the next big scandal, I just want to finish my uni course without losing my mind. Hopefully you now have a better insight into what it is like to be a female computer science student.

A Girl’s Name

I’m a computer science student. When I take part in group projects, I often have to contend with a guy who ignores my input. Last term some guy ignored my warning about a bug in his code. He said “trust me, the code’s fine” even when I showed him that running it with specific parameter values made it go haywire & when I explained why the code reacted in that way. He ignored me (again, the ridiculous “trust me, the code is fine” — no other explanation), and our group project was dinged for his error. This term, another guy was charged with integrating my code with his and with a third student’s. We described the code to him, gave him the location of the 2 pieces of code, and then found out he hadn’t looked at my code or incorporated any of it in the final result. Two terms ago two guys in a 3-student team exchanged contact info without bothering to answer my contact request. After I was finally allowed in the conversation & signed up for one of the coding tasks, one of them duplicated my work without looking at my code or explaining why he ignored it. My code was not included in the final product (though it was better than what was included). I’m a good programmer, + in some of these instances the work I provided came from my area of expertise (I also hold a doctorate in a quantitative field & am just perfecting myself with cs training; some of the input was algorithmic), + in most cases the male students didn’t look at my work. I believe my input was ignored because I am a woman. Though I’m used to sexism to the point that I just take it in stride, I’ve been surprised at the counter-productivity and automaticity of sexism among young male computer science students. I dread group projects because my time is so consistently wasted.