How to Encourage girls to code Through Embroidery Patterns

Sarina Gursch, Vesna Krnjic, Katja Urak, Wolfgang Slany, Michael Herold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


At the age of 13, many young women lose interest in programming. To sustain the interest of young women in programming, the Graz University of Technology has initiated several coding activities over the last years especially for girls. One of these activities is the Girls Coding Week (GCW) which also took place this year in August 2020. Many approaches to learning programming use game design and teach kids to build playable artifacts. Gender differences in gaming behavior and preferences raise concerns about possible gender inequalities when games are used as a motivation to learn to program. The question that occurs is whether there are other playful and interesting approaches that encourage girls to program? During the GCW we provide two main activities: game design and embroidery coding. To demonstrate the basic steps of programming as well as to create games and embroidery designs, the coding app Pocket Code has been used. Pocket Code uses Catrobat’s mobile visual programming framework for smartphones. It allows users to develop games and animations directly on their device, by simply sticking bricks together. The possibility of embroidery coding with a mobile phone should give young females new access in today's technical World. We use tutorials and instructions that were created in advance by students and co-workers of the Graz University of Technology. In this paper, we show that embroidery coding gives an alternative opportunity for young women to be creative and to learn to program. During the GCW qualitative and quantitative data were collected through interviews, created games and embroidery designs and surveys, which refer to motivational aspects. First results show that this playful, easy and effective way of learning to program while creating an embroidery design reinforces young women for coding and gives them especially a new perspective for future careers. The findings show that girls were very passionate about designing their own pattern and stitch it on fabric instead of game coding. The authors argue that the programming of embroidery designs can be intended to prevent the falling interest of girls for coding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th International Conference on Gender Research, ICGR 2021
EditorsElisabeth T. Pereira, Carlos Costa, Zélia Breda
PublisherCurran Associates, Inc
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781912764952
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event4th International Conference on Gender Research: ICGR 2021 - Aveiro, Portugal, Virtuell, Portugal
Duration: 21 Jun 202122 Jun 2021


Conference4th International Conference on Gender Research
Abbreviated titleICGR 2021
Internet address


  • Gender
  • Learning environments
  • embroidery coding
  • game design
  • encouraging computer science
  • coding week
  • Game design
  • Embroidery coding
  • Coding week
  • Encouraging computer science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

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