Women In Computing

This year the project focused on how diversity is expressed in the national Informatics Olympiad. There are numerous international, as well as national, science Olympiads that serve as an opportunity for developing and demonstrating intellectual and scientific skills; as such, they attract highly talented and gifted students. Accordingly, a relevant question to be asked is: What does this fact reflect with respect to the expression of diversity in this context? In this study we aim at examining this question by focusing on how diversity is expressed in the Israeli national Informatics Olympiad.


Our findings reveal that the internal diversity among the participants (which addresses characteristics such as ways of thinking) is higher than the external diversity (which addresses characteristics such as gender and race). Specifically, in most cases the team members, who represent Israel in the international competition, are Jewish male students from the center of the country. It is suggested that the fact that the external diversity is significantly lower than the internal one, indicates that mainly students with specific external characteristics conceive of themselves as potential members of the competition, while other students do not. It implies that in order to increase the external diversity among the participants, other groups of students should be encouraged to participate in the olympiad.

We suggest that this is a cultural issue, and as soon as diversity is encouraged in this setting, more female students, as well as other pupils who do not share the external characteristics that characterize the participants in the competition in its current setting, will attend these competitions.

This observation warrants further research intended to explores the diversity within other science olympiads and other programs that foster excellence. The current study will be published during 2007 in the following paper:  Sagy, O. and Hazzan, O. (in press, 2007). Diversity in excellence fostering programs: The case of the informatics Olympiad, Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching 26(3).


More information on this project can be found at:
Tmura Project.
Women Undergraduate Enrollment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

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