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Talk for Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen – Department Chair & Professor Jakob Grue Simonsen, Dr. Scient. PhD, MBA says:

Jenny-Margrethe Vej is a dedicated and engaging professional who gave an excellent talk about issues facing our organization, and those like it, regarding diversity and equity issues among our student population. Jenny’s combination of skills as a seasoned IT professional and expert in diversity issues significantly elevated our internal discussions on the matter.

Presented our research article at NordiCHI ’22 & co-hosted our DOREEN game for the conference participants

GN IT Talk about my thesis results & why diversity and inclusion is important, together with hosting a discussion session on how GN can improve within these areas

First recipient of the GN IT COURAGE AWARD

Research Article – NordiCHI ’22: Nordic Human-Computer Interaction Conference – October 2022 – Article No.: 86 – Pages 1–8
DOREEN: A Game of Provocations Creating New Ambitions for Equity in Computing Through Intertextual Design
(More about DOREEN and how you make your own die – check out the FemTech webpage)

ABSTRACT

We introduce DOREEN, a norm-critical story-telling game of provocations that displays women’s invisible experiences in computing to challenge barriers to inclusion. Following the principles of intertextual design, we collected empirical narratives from the past experiences of everyday women in computing and embedded these within the mechanics of role-playing storytelling games. With DOREEN we propose a playful way of exploring how gender roles, assumptions about computing, and social dynamics shape the experience of students – to reflect on the past with the aim of changing the future. DOREEN makes intertextual referencing to The Unbeatable SQUIRREL Girl aka Doreen Green, a computer science college student and a Marvel superhero who finds unorthodox ways (using wit and humor) to overcome barriers. DOREEN is a game to enjoy while engaging in critical reflection on belonging and well-being within computing. DOREEN is centered around an octahedron die and an adventure sheet inspired by tabletop role-playing gaming, emphasizing story-telling as a strategy for challenging norms and creating alternative narratives. The die design invites the players to reflect on how the probability of encountering limiting narratives and structural barriers can be higher or lower for different social groups. Finally, DOREEN is designed as the embodiment of all the people whose experiences, agency, and perspectives should be included in the journey of broadening participation in computing.

Thesis from Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, titled: Not Just a “Man In a Dress”: Voicing the Invisible Women of Computer Science

ABSTRACT

Denmark and other Western Countries is experiencing a wide gender gap when it comes to Computer Science and has been so for many years creating biases and exclusions when shaping the agenda for digital development, as well as challenging the industry in dire need of skilled individuals. In an effort to contribute to changing this narrative this thesis answers the research question: “What are the embedded stereotyped attitudes and beliefs on gender and Computer Science encountered by women students and what complexities shape the experiences of social belonging?”

To explore these embedded stereotyped beliefs and attitudes, ten former and current women students who started their Bachelor Program in the years between 2010 and 2015 were recruited for interviews. These ten women make up more than 12 % of the women who started at the Computer Science Bachelor Program during this period. The interviews were performed as Life Story Interviews with an interview guide based on the author’s own experiences as a Computer Science student in that same period. Through coding and thorough analysis of the interviews, 5 themes emerged which has formed the basis of this study, covering significant gender stereotypes about women and attitudes towards different aspects of Computer Science as a field, as well as how the social groups played a significant role in the women’s well-being.

What this thesis found was firstly that it is confirming that there are limited narratives about women that shape peoples experience, confirming existing research on this area, and we are extending this existing research by voicing these women’s experiences. Secondly, we produce and propose a new concept called Relational Visibility to describe the challenge these women face, balancing how to be both visible and invisible at the same time. And finally, we propose a framework which describes the multilayered complexity which this gender minority needs to navigate when starting in Computer Science.

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