Last week the Guardian published their university league tables. These tables are really useful for prospective students who want to see where a university may rank in the league tables. I have no doubt as to the quality of these courses so I thought it would be interesting to see the gender breakdown for the students taking part in these courses, using data from Unistats. It is clear from the graph below that the highest rated institutions may not have the best numbers of female applicants.

The University of Liverpool, rated 9th, has 21% female students, while Bristol and York rate higher in the league tables but at the bottom when it comes to gender.

League Table Number University Male Female Gender for Ranking 1 = highest.
1 University of Cambridge 86 14 3
2 St Andrews 87 13 4 =
3 University of Southampton 85 15 2
4 Imperial College 88 12 5
5 University of Bristol 92 8 7 =
6 University of York 92 8 7 =
7 University of Birmingham 87 13 4 =
8 University of Glasgow 87 13 4 =
9 University of Liverpool 79 21 1 (Highest!)
10 Shefield University 89 11 6

What can universities do?

It is obvious that their courses are great, but it’s also apparent
that they do not seem to be attracting a diverse range of genders.
Here are some ways that universities can attract more female students:

1. Target your outreach to Maths A-level students: there are more
girls there to choose from.

2. Be encouraging in the interview and prospectuses by saying that
programming is NOT a pre-requisite to studying computer science.

3. Provide lots of information about computer science societies and
women’s groups you may have.

4. Have a good prospectus and an easy-to-navigate website.

For a more detailed discussion, take a look at my publications or email for a chat.

In the next few days keep an eye out as I will be doing a comparison with all the universities in the league tables. keep your eyes peeled for where your university ranks!

Addition (added 18th July) Raw data for the universities in the top ten of league tables can be found by clicking here.