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Nuancing the discourse of underrepresentation: a feminist post-structural analysis of gender inequality in computer science education in the US

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Drawing on feminist post-structural perspectives, this article shows how the dominant discourses of underrepresentation and gender difference that characterize gender inequality in computer science (CS) create subject positions, which simultaneously mark women as highly invisible and visible. Narrative accounts from qualitative interviews and focus groups with women students of color enrolled in CS at a university located in the southwestern region of the US illustrate the situated ways in which participants materialized these discourses in their personal accounts of ‘not seeing and seeing women in CS.’ Participants accounts reveal how isolation, exclusion, and connection in CS are contextual, contingent, and intersectional experiences that cannot be collapsed into a single, monolithic meta-narrative. Participant accounts also demonstrate the complex ways that women students of color in CS pushed back on dominant discourses of underrepresentation and gender difference.
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Keywords: Gender inequality; Latinx students; computer science education; discourse; feminist post-structuralism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA

Publication date: July 3, 2020

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