When you think of web programmers it often conjures up connotations of geeky boys sitting in dark rooms with no windows. Surely this isn't the environment you'd expect to find a woman? Well, think again...
As time goes on, tech-related jobs have become more gender neutral, encouraging an eclectic mix of men and women. Unfortunately, the stigma of ‘that’s no job for a woman’ is still there.
EVEN GIANTS FALL AT THIS HURDLE
Technology is one of the STEM sectors where it is mainly populated by men. According to a BBC article, less than 20% of tech giants Facebook and Google's staff are female.
There have been various campaigns including #ILookLikeAnEngineer that encouraged girls to get into coding and the tech industry, as well as various competitions, websites, communities and events targeted specifically at women in Tech and Entrepreneurship. Accelerator programmes such as 'MassChallenge' support events dedicated to Women founders in Tech, but numbers are still very low. Why is this?
IS TECHNOLOGY REALLY A MAN’S WORLD?
According to the Fast Company, your career decision starts when you are a year old, depending on which toys you play with*.
It’s not like women are incapable of programming. In 1842, Ada Lovelace wrote a computer program for a machine that didn't even exist! The list goes on – Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, has been bridging the gap between politics and tech. Ladies like Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch, entered the tech world by learning basic coding skills.
So why aren’t there more women in tech roles? Are we starting to believe the hype and pushing ourselves towards more ‘gender friendly’ careers? More than 150 years after Ada Lovelace, women are still a minority in various science fields. This isn’t to say that women aren’t educating themselves in other topics, women now earn nearly 60% of bachelor degrees, but only 20% are in computer science, 20% in physics and 18% in engineering, according to the New York Times**.
CHOICE OR COERCION?
So are girls consciously choosing not to take this career path or is there another reason?
I’ve been invited to join a panel about ‘Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship’ on Sunday 21st February to raise awareness and encourage more women to join the tech scene. I’m looking forward to hearing what others have to say and I will let you know what the answers are and any good points that comes up in the discussion.
If you want to join me and my fellow panellists, the event is part of the Student Enterprise Conference organised by NACUE and hosted by UCL. Details about how to attend can be found here.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
At Webstars we champion Women in Tech. 60% of our team members in the London office are female, with roles ranging from Founders, Marketing Gurus, Management and Business Strategists. Here at Webstars, we are training two young girls to become expert coders in our highly talented and skilled Bucharest office.
It's an honour to be speaking at UCL as I am deeply passionate about women in technology. As a co-founder of Choosic, proud recipient of a MEng degree and part of the 60% of women at Webstars, I am a huge advocate for more women in the technology industry.
For more information about women in tech, I have added links to some interesting articles on the topic, and if you are attending on Sunday - I look forward to having some very interesting debates with you about the ever expanding role of women in technology.