International Women’s Day 2018: Bridging the Gender Gap for Women in Tech
The 8th March 2018 is International Women’s Day and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity, which, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, is still over 200 years away.
In this article, I outline the current state of gender inequality in the technology industry, and introduce several organisations who are working hard to bridge the gender gap for women in tech.
It’s a Fact
Gender inequality in tech isn’t just a biased opinion or the result of political agenda. It’s indisputable that women don’t enjoy a level playing field in the workplace. Here are 10 statistics that show the current state of gender inequality in the tech industry.
Women now hold just one quarter of computing jobs, as opposed to more than a third in 1991
Women under the age of 25 earn around 29 per cent less than men of the same age
Women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company 63 per cent of the time
Women earn only 28 per cent of computer science degrees
Women entrepreneurs begin with around one eighth8 of the funding of male-owned ventures
Just one-in-twenty leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women
The quit rate is more than twice as high for women (41 percent) than it is for men (17 percent) in the high tech industry
one in five organisations are not at all committed to hiring and advancing women in tech roles
Women hold just 11 per cent of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies
It isn’t all bad news, however. There’s several organisations dedicated to bridging the gender gap for women in tech.
Code with Klossy
American supermodel Karlie Kloss founded non-profit organisation Kode With Klossy in 2014 to empower teenage girls to learn to code and become leaders in tech.
Kloss herself enroled in her first coding class a few years back, where she learned the fundamentals of Ruby and other programming languages through hands-on labs.
She quickly came to realise that there just aren’t enough women in the tech industry, and launched Kode With Klossy to help redress the gender imbalance.
Kode with Klossy awards scholarships to girls aged 13 to 18 for two-week-long summer camps across the USA, in which students gain skills and proficiency in both back-end and front-end web development through building their own web apps.
Since attending a Kode with Klossy summer camp, one group of students—nicknamed Smart Kookies—went on to win the Youth Division prize at GlobalHackVI, having created an app to support the work of a charity serving homeless people in St. Louis, while others have applied to college with computer science as their major.
Non-profit organisation Codebar enables underrepresented groups of people in the tech industry, such as women and members of the LGBTQ community, to learn code in a safe and collaborative environment.
They run regular programming workshops, as well as one-off events, and are an invaluable resource for people who can’t afford formal training through coding bootcamps, university degrees or similar.
Although Codebar is primarily based in the UK, the organisation also has a presence across Europe and also further afield in countries like the US, Australia and South Africa.
Codebar also offer free online tutorials, introducing programming languages such as Ruby and Python, for those who cannot attend a workshop or event in person.
Girls in Tech
Girls in Tech is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to the engagement, education and empowerment of women in technology.
With branches in both North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Girls in Tech was founded in 2007 by Adriana Gascoigne upon noticing that she was one of the only women at the tech company for which she worked.
Girls in Tech have more than 100,000 members worldwide, and relies on volunteers to lead each of their 60 branches. They organise workshops and events, as well as mentorship programmes for young girls, university-aged women and professionals.
Girls in Tech also run Global Classroom, which is an online learning platform that provides access to courses and resources to improve knowledge in STEM-related fields.
Code Like a Girl
Code Like a Girl is a Melbourne-based non-profit organisation that runs workshops and events in major cities around Australia with the aim of supporting women in the tech industry, and inspire new generations of girls to learn to code.
Code Like a Girl believes there aren’t enough female role models in the tech industry. They hope to change that by bringing together local talents and like-minded girls to connect and celebrate each other’s achievements.
The organisation has also recently launched a paid internship scheme that covers coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and design aimed at students on a break from university, recent graduates or those looking for a change in career.
Women Who Tech
US-based, non-profit organisation Women Who Tech is dedicated to breaking down barriers for women in tech and securing more funding for women-led startups.
The organisation help connect the dots between women-led startups and investors, as well as provide advice and guidance so that women can get the support they need to flourish in the tech industry.
Since their inception in 2008, Women Who Tech has helped 1,700 startups and are currently co-hosting their sixth Women Startup Challenge competition with Google. One winning female entrepreneur will be given $50,000 towards their startup.
New York-based private equity fund Golden Seeds is primarily focused on investing in women-led startups. They’re one of the largest angel investment firms in the United States, with a nationwide network of 275-plus angel investors.
Over 145 companies have received Golden Seeds funding to date—many tech-based—and the organisation have invested more than $100 million dollars since their 2005 inception, giving women the funding they so desperately lack.
In this article, I’ve outlined the current state of gender inequality in the technology industry and introduced several organisations that are working hard to bridge the gender gap for women in tech.
With the dedication of organisations such as these, there will, hopefully, be true gender parity in the tech industry far sooner than the current 200-year estimate.