Change in order not to change: ultraorthodox hasidic women’s experience in studying computer science

Y. Ben David Kolikant*, S. Genut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and Context: In line with interest in recruiting underrepresented groups to CS studies, our study dealt with Israeli Hasidic young women who successfully studied CS at an academic institute. Objective: We investigated what factors governed Hasidic young women’s decision to enrol in a CS program and shaped their studying experience. Method: Interviews with 10 final-year students on their decision to study CS and their experience of it, were followed by a questionnaire administrated to all the students in the programme. We compared the Hasidic students’ grades to other female students in identical programs. Repeated measures ANOVA enabled us to rank the factors according to their importance to the participants. Findings: While economic status was a powerful motivating factor, the specific programme was chosen due students’ desire to be socially isolated. Students were constantly distracted by encounters with the outside world. Nevertheless, and despite their economic difficulties and wide knowledge gaps, their academic achievements were similar to those of other female groups. Implications: This group was unique in terms of the factors underlying their decision to enrol in a CS program. Attempts to expand the diversity of CS students would benefit from understanding the unique context of the underrepresented group.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2
Pages (from-to)211-236
Number of pages26
JournalComputer Science Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Computer Science
  • Hasidic
  • culture
  • underrepresentation
  • women


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