Every year International Women’s Day encourages us to publicise and celebrate the achievements of women all over the world. It is also an opportunity to reflect on whether company you work for or the industry you are in does enough for women.
The technology industry is renowned for being male dominated, particularly in development teams. The stats are worrying: in an average A-Level computing class, 1 in 11 are girls; and only 17% of UK technology jobs are held by women. When we advertise for developer positions, we rarely receive applications from women. For us this is always disappointing and the trend doesn’t appear to be changing.
In an increasingly digital connected work, technical skills are becoming key to a country’s economic success. The UK needs to invest more in technical education from primary education onwards, as well as encouraging young adults to consider a career in technology. While there are few women taking computing classes, there is also an overall decline in the number of pupils taking computing at GSCE and A-level.
What can we do?
- Encourage your daughters (and sons) to learn code: there are a number of excellent online resources to get them started such as Code Academy.
- Buy them a Raspberry Pi – this is a great, low-cost computer for them to start with.
- Support campaigns that are committed to promoting women in technology, such as Little Miss Geek, as well as campaigning for technology skills to become an integral part of the school curriculum (see NextGen. Skills for more on how you can lobby your MP).
International Women’s Day is about positively celebrating the achievements of women so I leave you with Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and her commencement speech for the Harvard Business School Class of 2012. Inspiring stuff.