Author Archives: Sam Walsh

As it happened: Ada Lovelace Day Live!

Photo of tweeting birds

Project Ada reported live from Ada Lovelace Day Live! in London, hosted by the IET. The “science cabaret” evening highlighted the achievements of women in STEM.

►Suw Charman-Anderson: Why I founded Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day, now in its eighth year, is a day to celebrate female role models. The London cabaret featured design engineer Yewande Akinola, science writer Kat Arney, planetary physicist Sheila Kanani and many more – and was hosted by comedian Helen Keen.

Sam and Clara liveblogged the event below, but you can also keep an eye on @ProjectAda_ and the event hashtag #ALD16.

Live Blog Project Ada: #ALD16

The best female animators you’ve never heard of

Photo: Erianisbest, Wikimedia

Animation is yet another niche in the tech industry where women are under represented. While you may have heard of Nick Park or Walt Disney, it’s unlikely you’ve heard about any women in the same field.

Here are some of the best, and possibly the trippiest, female animators and their creations.

Allison Schulnik

Allison Schulnik is an artist from LA, specialising in eery, but beautiful paintings that show the world at its most weird and wonderful.

Her animation, EAGER epitomises her style and is likely to make you wonder what on earth is going on.

Alison De Vere

A step back in time takes you to Alison De Vere, an English animator who worked mostly from Cornwall. She also worked in London, most famously on the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine video. Her crowning glory is generally considered to be The Black Dog, released in 1987, which tells a story of self discovery and development.

Julia Pott

Julia Pott is an English artist currently living in New York. Her drawings are intensely stylised, and often feature strange creatures that only resemble real animals. Her short animation, Belly, is one such example of this, and is guaranteed to make you feel something. I’m just not sure what.


Arisa Wakami

Probably the most cheerful of the four, Arisa Wakami is a Japanese animator, specialising in stop motion and lyrical sand painting. Her two minute animation, Blessing, was nominated for an award at Animateka in 2011. She also holds animation workshops for children.

Who’s your favourite female animator?

Featured image: Erianisbest, Wikimedia, used with a Creative Commons license. 

Interview: We Got Coders’ Dan Garland on getting women into tech

wgc class

Dan Garland is the founder of We Got Coders, a residential coding school that is offering scholarships to women who want to learn how to code.

Currently, only around 25 to 40 per cent of attendants at We Got Coders are women, something Dan wants to change. Women are often his most talented students.

We had a chat with him to see what he thought could be done to tackle the lack of women in tech.

Female role models in tech

Dan believes that more could be done to show the impact of women in the past on the tech industry today.

Women in the gaming industry

Dan points out that often the computer gaming industry can be one of the most intimidating for women to break into.

Making tech a more accessible place for women

Dan believes that solving problems like the work/life balance and maternity leave in tech would be a good start to helping women break into the industry.

He also echoes what we heard at the event A Web For Her, adding that the purpose of an app is very important for getting women involved in developing it.

What do you think can be done to make life easier for women in tech?

Do you want to learn to code FOR FREE?

wgc class

Guest post by Alice Kemp-Habib from We Got Coders.

Less than 14% of the STEM workforce is female, according to statistics from Women in to Science and Engineering (WISE) 2013, showing just how underrepresented women are in the tech industry. Several reasons have been cited for this.

Many suggest that the male dominance of the tech industry is off-putting for women. This implies that already existing underrepresentation spurs further underrepresentation. Coupled with the theory that male bosses are more likely to employ men, an unfortunate cycle develops; fewer women put themselves forward and those who do are less likely to be employed.

The portrayal of tech careers favours men with the archetypal coder being an ultra-intelligent, white male. All you have to do is Google search ‘engineer’ to see that of the top 17 results visible, just two depict women and none include black or minority ethnic groups.

Gender socialisation tells girls from a young age that tech is not for them. A lack of female role models is another frequently asserted explanation. This is particularly ironic when English mathematician, writer and (wait for it) …woman, Ada Lovelace, is widely believed to be the world’s first computer programmer.

We Got Coders is the UK’s only residential web-development training programme, teaching trainees how to code and then mentor them as they enter the working world post-training.


We repeatedly find ourselves discussing the gender imbalance in tech and after becoming frustrated by a lack of female applicants have launched a new initiative – free training for women. We want to increase the representation of women in our cohort.

Other coding boot camps offer small discounts to women. However, we take the issue seriously and want to do all we can to encourage women to enter the industry. By training and placing more women, the percentage of women in STEM will inevitably increase.

wgc class

Dan Garland, founder of We Got Coders, said, “Women are just as capable as men of pursuing careers in the tech sector – but something, whether socialisation or otherwise, means they are not doing so.

“At We Got Coders we value equality and want to challenge this underrepresentation. We believe women have a valuable contribution to make to this industry and that the industry will be lacking until the number of women in STEM increases.”

This too is true, while women are missing out on exciting potential careers in science, technology, engineering and maths; the industry itself is negatively affected by the gender gap.

wgc grad

Underrepresentation means that women’s unique experiences and approaches to problem solving are deficient in the STEM sector and that the products created may not effectively cater to all consumers.

Expense is not what’s deterring women from the industry, we know that, however given the barriers outlined above (and many, many more that have not been discussed here) it is evident that more needs to be done to attract women to the sector. Who doesn’t like free stuff?!

If you or someone you know would benefit from this free training contact – we’d love to hear from you!

Has gender representation in tech reporting got any better?

An open-plan newsroom

Back in March we found that women were not only underrepresented in the tech industry, but among the journalists writing about it as well. What we found was genuinely surprising: At the Guardian just one in five tech articles was written by a woman, whilst at the Daily Mail more articles were written by women than by men.

So, two months on with a much larger sample size, how has the gender balance changed?

Actually, for the most part, it’s got better.

Telegraph wins ‘most improved’

Every news outlet we studied got at least a little bit better, with an increased number of women making up their tech authors. Three sites had increased their female representation by over 20%.

The prize for most improved goes to the Telegraph, leaping from 46% of articles written by women in February, to 59% in April. This represents an increase of 27%. Did we have something to do with that? Probably.

The Guardian and Wired also saw the percentage of female tech reporters rise.

The Daily Mail had the largest female representation in March, and remains much the same on around 54%. Buzzfeed is also largely unchanged at 46%.

Although the Guardian increased the share of articles written by women from 19.6% to 23.7%, this is a small improvement that sees them still lag some way behind their tabloid rivals.

How many reporters are female?

The male dominance in tech journalism is clear when looking at the number of reporters for each site. Only two of the news outlets we looked at have more women than men writing about tech: Buzzfeed and the Mail.

Surprisingly, based on the articles in our sample, the Telegraph has the most skewed gender balance in the newsroom. Just 32% of their tech writers are female – but those writers have produced 58% of the articles.

What difference does it make?

Do investigations like these have any impact on gender representation? Well, as Google said when they released their diversity report last June:

“It is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.


What do you think? Get in touch with us @ProjectAda_ or leave a comment below.

Top five women in tech videos


Looking for some inspiration to get you teching this morning? Look no further, we’ve got you covered!

The world of women in technology

A rare and insightful look into the future of women in technology in India. Full of interesting and inspiring facts and figures, and some very powerful characters.

Women of the world panel

A panel discussion from a year ago where female CEOs from around the world discuss the challenges for women in the tech industry. Have things got any better since then?

Innovation 26×26

Admittedly, yes, this is a job advert. But it’s a great diving off point for learning about the many things you probably didn’t know women in tech have provided the world with.

Marissa Mayer on Women in Tech

An insightful and encouraging interview discussing the harmful stereotypes of women in the tech industry and what can be done to combat them.

How to Get More Women in Tech

And finally, the question on everyone’s lips, how to get more women into technology roles. Caroline Drucker talks about the dangers of talking yourself down by calling yourself a girl and taking charge of what you are.

What do tweets about International Women’s Day tell us?


Twitter is overflowing with tweets about Women’s Day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Project Ada put together a little analysis of what and where people are tweeting on the topic.

Where are tweets about International Women’s Day coming from?

We should all be asking some big questions this International Women’s Day. Foremost among them for many of us is, where are people tweeting about International Women’s Day from? Luckily for you, we’ve got the answer.

We mapped more than 1,500 tweets from around the world, including the hashtags, #makeithappen, #internationalwomensday, #womensday, #paintitpurple, #iwd and #iwd2015, and it looks a bit like this.

The vast majority of the tweets are coming from the UK and North America, which is unsurprising as the hashtags are in English. Within the UK, around a third of tweets are coming from London.

In Australia, the city with the most tweets with those hashtags is Sydney, in the USA it’s New York. The UK outstrips other countries, with around a third of our sample tweets coming from there.

#makeithappen is the theme of International Women’s Day, 2015. #paintitpurple was chosen to represent dignity and justice, two values at the heart of International Women’s Day and the original Suffragettes.

Get the data for this map.

What are we tweeting about International Women’s Day?

We analysed what hashtags were used in some 30,000 tweets about Women’s Day, to give us an idea of what topics we’re talking about.

Countries and cities crop up most often, giving us a clearer view of where Women’s Day is a particularly hot topic. Iran was mentioned most often, nearly 6 times as often as runner-up the UK, and #Berlin was the top trending city – logical, as thousands of members of the Iranian opposition had gathered in Berlin under the slogan “Against fundamentalism and misogyny”.

Canada’s social democratic party #NDP makes it into the top ten with a widely spread campaign to end violence against women.

#Equality, #HeForShe, and #feminism are rather unsurprisingly all popular entries, as is #Beijing20, as the UN’s Beijing Platform for gender equality turns 20 years old.

Get the data for the wordcloud.

See anything else surprising in the map or wordcloud? Comment or tweet us @ProjectAda_!

Here’s how The Daily Mail beats The Guardian at gender equality

An open-plan newsroom

Women aren’t just underrepresented in the tech workforce, but also among the journalists writing about tech, shows an analysis by Project Ada.

Less than one in five articles on the Guardian’s tech section in 2015 were written by a female journalist.

How many women are writing about technology?

Project Ada decided to find out, as studies have shown that men dominate newspaper bylines. We scraped a total of 1507 articles from the tech sections of seven news sites, to check the gender of the authors.

The result? On average just under 40 per cent of the people writing about technology are women.

But what’s really interesting is the spread. The Guardian had just 19.6 per cent female authors, and the Mirror roughly one-third.

Daily Mail Online was the only site to have more women than men writing about tech, with 53.7 per cent female bylines.

An open-plan newsroom

(Photo: David Sim/Flickr)

“Although we have seen an increase in the number of female editorial staff over the past years, we recognise that more needs to be done to ensure this continued,” commented a spokesperson from the Guardian’s press office.

Most tech authors are male

These figures are reflected in the number of writers for each site. Only Buzzfeed and Mail Online had more female writers than male writers. Of the articles we analysed, The Guardian had just 26 female authors, compared to 48 male authors.

The number of female reporters at the Mirror in January and February 2015 was in single figures at just eight, compared to 24 male reporters.

This may have something to do with readerships of each news site. The Daily Mail is the only national daily newspaper to have more female readers than male readers, admittedly at a 52.5/47.5 per cent split.

The Telegraph, Guardian and Mirror all have more male readers than female readers, according to The Media Briefing.

Change may be on the way, though, according to the Guardian.

“We are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across all aspects of our business,” said a Guardian spokesperson, adding that the organisation is trying to increase diversity through programmes such as their women’s mentoring scheme and the Scott Trust bursary scheme.

Get the data.

Written by Sam Walsh and Clara Guibourg

Top reads: Tinder-style mentors and Silicon Valley role models

Facebook and LinkedIn team up to boost women in tech

Struggling to keep up with the latest on women in tech? Fear not! We have a round up of the week’s most interesting news, straight from the world wide web to your eye holes.

Facebook and LinkedIn join forces to help women in tech

The big story of the week. Facebook and LinkedIn have come together to try and encourage more women to enrol on engineering and computer science courses. About 15% of people working in tech jobs at Facebook are women, whilst women make up 17% of tech related postings at LinkedIn.

Facebook and LinkedIn corp join forces to help women tech

Facebook and LinkedIn corp join forces to help women in tech.

This platform will match you to peer mentors, Tinder style

Two entrepreneurs, who believe the most effective path to gender equality is mentorship, have created an app that matches women in tech with peer mentors. The app is called Glassbreakers, and works like online dating. 1,200 women have signed up for the app already.

Entrepreneurs Eileen Carey and Lauren Mosenthal

Entrepreneurs Eileen Carey and Lauren Mosenthal

Friends without benefits: the problem with women in tech

 A great longform think piece looking at the number of women in tech, why it’s declining and why companies should take notice. Warning: contains a whole host of deeply depressing statistics.

Women are quitting the technology sector in droves

Women are quitting the technology sector in droves.

Women in tech who are shaking up Silicon Valley

An article profiling some of the important women in tech we rarely hear about. Wondering who to keep your eye on, aside from Arianna Huffington and Marissa Mayers? These women will give them a run for their money.

Anima Lavoy

Anima Lavoy

As it happened: What would the web look like if it was run by women?


Ashley, Keila and Sam brought you live coverage of A Web For Her, an event that asked a simple question: What would the web look like if it was run by women?

Live Blog A Web For Her

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