Document Type


Publication details

Mason, R, Cooper, G, Comber, T, Hellou, A & Tucker, J 2015, 'Gender differences in experiences of TAFE IT students: a work in progress', in D D'Souza & K Falkner (eds), Proceedings of the 17th Australasian Computing Education Conference, Sydney, Australia, 27-30 January, The Conference in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT) series; 160, Australian Computer Society, Sydney, Australia, pp. 3-10. ISBN: 9781921770425

Peer Reviewed



In Australia, one of the sources of loss of females in the IT education pipeline occurs at the TAFE (college) level. Female students comprise the majority of early TAFE IT courses and female completion rates for these courses are similar to males. Despite this early success, most females choose to not continue to Diploma level, and through articulation pathways into university IT courses. A survey was conducted to determine possible differences in experiences between male and female TAFE IT students. It was found that more females than males lived alone or with dependents. Female students had higher employment status, higher previous education, and comparable computer literacy and interest in IT to the male cohort. Despite these advantages, the female students had lower confidence in their ability to study, and their abilities in IT, and many female students did not intend to study or work in IT. Possible reasons are discussed.