Center for Science, Technology and Society (STS) Research Taiwan
Presentation Title: Innovative solutions in attracting girls into studying computer science and cognate fields: case studies from Taiwan
Wen-Ling Hong received her PhD degree from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 2000. Her PhD research studied free-surface turbulence with an experimental approach. After graduation, she became a full-time homemaker for 5 years. This experience has led her to learn about birth and breastfeeding peer supports, as well as advance her English communication. She moved to Taiwan and joined the Faculty of Ocean Engineering in National Kaohsiung Marine University since 2005. She expanded her research into interdisciplinary fields of Gender in Engineering and Science, Technology and Society (STS) soon after. She established the STS Research Center in the university in 2012. Hong has been engaging in topics in science communication, citizen science, engineering ethics, engineering education reform, as well as gender and ST. She has served several terms in the boards of Taiwan STS Association and the Society of Taiwan Women in Science and Technology. Since 2014, she has co-led Taiwan Gender In Science and Technology (Taiwan GIST), a government funded project, to promote better gender policy and involvement in ST.
Please click to view Wen Ling Hong’s CV.
Taiwan has a generally low participation of female students in STEM fields in college level, about 33% in Science, 33% in Math and 13% in Engineering. If we focus only on the ICT fields, it’s 25% in computer science, 12% in computer engineering. When girls are choosing their majors in (vocational) high school and college, information application/technology related disciplines are more favorable than the hardcore computer engineering. This seems to coincide with empirical findings from the US that female students are more attracted to work that can develop connections and make immediate contribution to the society.
G0v.tw, a civic tech community aiming to provide citizen monitoring and interpretation tools for the pressing social issues in Taiwan is a very interesting example of ICT’s social development. G0v is now recognized as one of the largest groups of its kind, among similar ones. The deep social responsibilities that g0v carries, attracts many female participants who do not have previous ICT background. One of its founders, Audrey Tang, a talented programmer was named a minister without portfolio in the new cabinet to contribute to the open government policy.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has been supporting efforts to attract more girls into STEM by pop science activities and special research grants about gender and science in the past decade. Furthermore, the Department of Gender Equality runs the “Innovation for Women and Economic Development project “ (2013-16) funded by APEC to encourage women using ICT tools for microbusinesses and small and medium enterprises. We hope to integrate these actions about gender friendly STEM, ICT applications in social issues and economics to make a strong impact in how younger generations perceive technologies and see more opportunities when they make decisions for their future.
Wen-Ling Hong (2016, June). An overview of the gender and technology special grant in Taiwan, since 2007. Pacific Science Conference, Taipei, Taiwan.
Wen-Ling Hong (2015, Aug). Looking Back on the Special Grant for Gender and Science/Technology Research in Taiwan since 2007. Gender Summit 6, 2015 Asia Pacific , Seoul, Korea,.
Wen-Ling Hong (2011, Jul). Barely Surviving or Trailblazing? Professional Life of Women Engineers in Shipbuilding, Mechanical and Construction Industries in Taiwan. International Conference for Women Engineers and Scientists, 2011/7/19-22, Adelaide, Australia.