The computer sciences industry is largely a male dominated field, and the near-absence of girls at this year’s IOI reflects just that.
Of the 315 contestants, only seven were girls.
This situation has been recognised by Australia’s National Computer Science School.
The School has established an extra-curricular program targeted specifically towards females.
Run mostly by women IT students from the University of Sydney, The Girl’s Programming Network provides opportunities to female high school students to gain knowledge in the field.
The school’s senior tutor, Nicky Ringland says that even though the majority of girls who sign up to the program are already interested in computer science, many of them will bring their friends along.
“The girls that come along are given really awesome experiences and they become more and more interested in computer science,” Ms Ringland said.
A guest at this year’s International Olympiad in Informatics, biomedical engineer Delphine Dean understands first-hand how it feels to work in a predominantly male field.
“It’s great to see that in younger students the balance is a little better. It’s good to have some role models out there for the future,” Professor Dean said.
Even though the field is still overwhelmingly dominated by men, changes are taking place to provide girls with the same opportunities as boys o learn about computer science.