GIRLS IN DATA SCIENCE: FIRST STEPS IN COMPUTATIONAL LEARNING WITH R
The students gender gap in science, engineering and computing courses has decreased,
but evasion, especially in the first years of undergraduate courses, is still a problem that affects
the female public in general. In addition, women are minorities in research and extension
projects in university that require programming.
When speaking about basic education, in Brazil, private schools still have incipient
teaching in programming subject while in public schools these practices are practically
nonexistent. The technological characteristic of the 21st Century, has favored the formation of
digitally active children, although, disconnected with school subjects. They not have the
computational and analytical thinking that allows them to analyze and criticize daily life data
nor to produce knowledge and technology from images, texts, data and sounds.
On August 2018th, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development
(CNPq) and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC)
opened a call CNPQ/MCTIC 31/2018, aiming to support projects that contribute to the scientific
and technological development and innovation in Brazil by encouraging the participation and
training of girls and women for the careers of Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics – STEM. A project proposal entitled Gender Diversity in Data Science: Learning
through Evidence-Based Practice, coordinated by Professor Karla Esquerre, was awarded.
The project main goal is create ways to support girl students of lower secondary school to
develop their computational and statistical thinking, approaching them to the area of exact
sciences by the surveying, exploration, modeling and data analysis from a variety of traditional
and non-traditional data sources related to everyday issues.