Gillian Lovegrove

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Gillian Lovegrove
Gillian Lesley Lowther

(1942-10-28) 28 October 1942 (age 77)
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge, Cambridge University
Occupationcomputer scientist, academic
EmployerPortsmouth Polytechnic, Southampton University, University of Staffordshire, Northumbria University, British Computer Society

Gillian Lovegrove (born 1942) is a retired computer scientist and academic. She was Dean of the School of Informatics at Northumbria University, president of the Conference of Professors and Heads of Computing and was Higher Education consultant to the British Computer Society and manager of its Education and Training Forum. She is known for her interest in gender imbalance in computer education and employment, and her public discussion of possible solutions to a shortage of information technology graduates in the UK.

Early life and education[edit]

Gillian Lesley Lowther, now Gillian Lovegrove, was born in Yorkshire on 28 October 1942[1] and grew up in the Hull area.[2] She went to Malet Lambert School and then to Newnham College, Cambridge to study mathematics. After her first degree in 1964, she did a Masters-equivalent Diploma at Cambridge University in Numerical Analysis and Automatic Computing.


She was a lecturer in mathematics at Portsmouth Polytechnic from 1965–1968 and then went as a research fellow to Southampton University, where she started maths lecturing in 1969.[1] Her career had to be part-time as she combined it with motherhood responsibilities for a few years in the 1970s.[2] In 1974 she got her PhD with a dissertation on modular operating systems, after studying under David Barron,[3] and in 1980 she began full-time lecturing in computer studies at Southampton. Her next research interest was object-oriented computing.[4]

She co-wrote two papers about girls and computer education: Where Are All the Girls? (1987) and Where Are the Girls Now? (1991) with Wendy Hall, a colleague at Southampton. Lovegrove also organised "Women into Computing" conferences in the late 1980s where one of the themes that emerged was "dismay at the low number of women taking computing courses or following computing careers".[5] In 1992 she went to the University of Staffordshire's School of Computing where she was associate dean and head of information systems.[4] She was also in the "IT EQUATE" team exploring ways of encouraging more girls at school to consider IT as an area of study and as a future career.[6] In 1995 a reviewer said her chapter, Women in Computing, in Professional Awareness in Software Engineering[7] "grapples with the very difficult policy issues in the areas of legislation, institutional culture, and positive action".[8]

She was concerned not only about a shortage of women in computing but also more generally about a shortage of information technology graduates in the UK and gave evidence on this subject to the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee in 2001.[9] She suggested ways for universities to help create "a culture which does not exclude women" from computing.[10] She continued making similar points about under-representation of women and an inadequate supply of IT graduates at conferences and elsewhere.[11] The Times Higher Education Supplement said her field had become "the image of computing and what more computing departments can do for the UK economy".[12] At a "Build Britain's Brainpower" conference in 2002 she proposed "joint teaching schemes between employers and universities", even though she felt teaching staff were already over-stretched after a period of rapid expansion in student numbers.[13]

She was head-hunted by Northumbria University in 1999[2] to be Head of the School of Informatics, which grew under her leadership.[4] She has also been chair of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) and chaired the CPHC Information Strategy Group. She was manager of the British Computer Society (BCS) Education and Training Forum, and a Higher Education consultant for the BCS.


  1. ^ a b Newnham College Register, 1990, p144
  2. ^ a b c Gillian Lovegrove: Interview Conducted by Janet Abbate for the IEEE History Center, 20 September 2001
  3. ^ Southampton University biography
  4. ^ a b c Janet Abbate, Recoding Gender: Women's Changing Participation in Computing, MIT 2012, pp153-155
  5. ^ Lovegrove, Gillian, Segal, Barbara (Eds.),Women into Computing: Selected Papers 1988–1990, Springer 1991
  6. ^ .G. Lovegrove, M. Fletcher, C. Johnson and C. Mayer: Staffordshire IT EQUATE: Project and Plans. IFIP Conference on Women, Work and Computerization, Manchester 1994
  7. ^ Colin Myers, Professional Awareness in Software Engineering, McGraw-Hill 1995
  8. ^ Rupert Simpson, 'Choices and the feel-right factor: Computer Books', The Times Higher Education Supplement, 8 Sep 1995
  9. ^ Goodwin, 'IT groups demand skills top party manifestos', Computer Weekly, Jan 2001
  10. ^ 'Recruiting the New IT Girls', BBC, 23 Jan 2002
  11. ^ "IT Professionals in Education:Increasing the Supply, 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-09-24. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  12. ^ Claire Sanders, 'A Woman's Place Is In The Laboratory', The Times Higher Education Supplement, 12 Oct 2001, p7
  13. ^ Caroline Davis, Skills Shortage Hits IT Industry, The Times Higher Education Supplement, 15 Feb 2002, p3