Diversity And Women In Tech

I’m sure you’re aware women are woefully underrepresented in the tech sector and make up only 23% of the UK workforce.  Only 5% of leadership roles are held by women!

The figures are worse for black and ethnic minority groups.

But what’s inhibiting the progress and ambitions of women both in the UK and across the globe?

I’m acutely aware that my daughters' qualities - hard-work, passion and dedication - might not help them to reach their peak if they opt for a career in tech. 

The research shows that they’re likely to face a glass ceiling to reach even non-techy board level roles given that a mere 8.5% of senior leaders are from minority backgrounds.

Technology opens up so much opportunity to make a difference in the world so it makes no sense to me to create barriers that limit our ability to solve the world’s problems.

Let’s empower more women and girls by supporting their ambition to make meaningful progress in the tech world so they can have the confidence to reach the pinnacle of their career.

They need equal amounts of encouragement, support and guidance (from an early age) to get into STEM to begin to redress future hiring challenges.

Boosting the pipeline is important and we need to tackle the inequity in hiring practices further down the line.

Diverse teams in general are on average more creative, innovative, and ultimately associated with greater profitability.

So it’s also in our best interest to contribute in some way to help to rectify the disparities.

Stereotypes persist but it’s incumbent on industry, individuals and institutions to break down barriers for the sake of productivity and competitive advantage.

Girls love the world of tech just as much as boys and that’s why I ran a local STEM coding accelerator where 50% of the cohort were female.  

5 out of 14 group members completed 100 hours of code (in their own time) and guess what, the vast majority of that elite group were girls!

I hope that some of them will begin to, at least, think about a career in tech.   

But I know there’s much that needs to be done so that they have the same opportunity to succeed as their counterparts; here are a few suggestions/ideas:

  1. Raising awareness and access to tech careers: getting girls involved in computing and other STEM subjects at grassroots level

  2. Informing students about technology and the work involved: encouraging more girls to progress to higher education in a STEM subject  

  3. Avoiding and fighting prevailing stereotypes

  4. Employers outreach into schools universities and building diverse teams  

  5. Providing support and mentoring for aspiring and experienced tech professionals

  6. Connecting different networking groups so that new opportunities can be shared

The coding accelerator is a drop in the ocean and for me it’s just the beginning because I want to contribute to boosting the number of women working in tech by

  1. Helping businesses to proactively build experienced tech teams

  2. Creating an affordable coding accelerator camp and platform (with 40% representation of women) to connect aspiring software engineers with top employers

But this will address only part of the problem and I don’t have the overall solution. 

Industry, institutions and individuals must play their part to…  And I’d love to hear from you to hear your ideas.

Please also let me know or connect if you have gaps in your team that you’re trying to fill or if you’re interested in learning or teaching coding skills in a bootcamp.

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