Category Archives: Get The Facts

Where are all the female speakers in STEM? IP Expo Manchester has more speakers named David than women

Photo: Flickr/Ignite New Zealand

Women are grossly underrepresented as speakers at tech conferences, and IP Expo Manchester, opening today in Manchester, is no exception, as a Project Ada analysis reveals it has just seven per cent female speakers.

The problem is a familiar one: women are missing not just from the industry, but on stage. Even when an event’s audience is more equally split between genders, among keynote speakers and panelists women can still be hard to find, and all-male panels still all too common.

At IP Expo Manchester, held 18-19 May, just three of the 43 speakers advertised on the website are women. A whole 92.5 per cent of the speakers are male.

In fact, there are more Davids among the event’s speakers than there are women, as we found that four of the promoted speakers are named David – and just three are women.

Proportion of male and female speakers at IP EXPO

IP Expo Manchester’s organisers tell Project Ada they’d love to see more female keynote speakers and panelists:

“It is one of our main aims, that we remain focused on attracting the thought leaders in the field, irrespective of gender but would certainly like to see a bigger representation from the talented women in technology,” said a spokesperson for the event.

This year speakers include Dr Sue Black and Dame Stella Rimington.

This isn’t just a problem for IP Expo. “Where are the women speakers?” is a question that’s been asked time and again. It’s a vicious circle, of course: with a lack of women in the industry leading to a lack of women on stage – damaging women’s career prospects.

But women are underrepresented even when taking into account their smaller numbers in STEM industries. And not all the blame can be laid at organisers’ feet: Women, it seems, are more likely to say no, when asked.

In 2013, researchers from the University of Sheffield found 50 per cent of female biologists turned down an invitation to speak, against just 26% of men.

IP Expo Manchester’s spokesperson confirmed this has been a difficulty:

We’ve worked really hard to promote gender equality on our keynote programmes, however, despite approaching a huge selection of relevant, qualified female speakers it is really difficult to get commitment.

So is there a good way of solving the problem? One study suggests that an effective way of increasing female speakers is actually quite simple: make sure there is at least one woman organising the event.

One woman makes all the difference, according to researchers at Yale University and Yeshiva University, who found that having one or more women involved in organizing scientific conference increased the proportion of female speakers by 72 per cent.

The tech jobs with the highest gender pay gap in the UK


As odd as it can be, women and men are not paid equally.

In the UK’s tech industry, female workers earn less than their male colleagues in all jobs, from computer programming to data processing.

According to the ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, women’s salaries can be as much as 37 per cent less than men’s.

In the graphic below, it’s possible to see the salary gender gap in seven jobs in the UK tech industry.

The highest gap is seen in the role “data processing and web portals”. While male workers earn £726 per week, women are paid much less, at £457.

Even in computer programming, where the payment difference is the smallest among the jobs analysed, female programmers still make 22 per cent less than men. Women earn £534.70 per week, while men get £689.90.

The graphic below shows that there is no equality in salaries in any job considered in the analysis. Other roles in the survey, such as software designing and computer games, couldn’t be analysed as there was no sufficient data about women’s earnings.


“Raise awareness”

Earlier this month, the group Girls in Tech launched a campaign to bring awareness to the gender pay gap in the tech industry.

The campaign is a response to the recent comments by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said during an interview in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference that women should rather trust the system than ask for a raise.

Girls in Tech campaign promises to raise the gender wage gap with companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, PayPal and others.

Kate Brodock, Girls in Tech president, said:

“By teaching employees how to effectively ask for a raise and creating a system that supports that, we hope to empower those women that are currently hesitant to ask for a raise, and gain productive partners in the participating companies.”

Featured image: credit to European Union 2015 – European Parliament

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.

Interactive: Who’s most influential on #womenintech?


It’s hardly news that the people supporting diversity in tech make up a vibrant and active community. Supporting and inspiring each other through events, in the workplace – and on Twitter, through hashtags like #womenintech.

We were curious to see who some of the network’s more influential tweeters were and built the network below, based on the latest 18,000 tweets on the hashtag.

Interactive: Explore everyone tweeting about #womenintech

Click the image or here to explore an interactive version of the map. (Maybe you can even find yourself!)

Every circle represents one Twitter account, and the darker purple it is, the more central that account is to the community. The bigger it is, the more mentions it’s received from other accounts.

So who are the top ten?

1. @thistechgirl

Also known as Saadia Muzaffar, the founder of Tech Girls Can and committed to “changing the ratio” in tech. On her website she writes:

“Diversity forces innovation to snap out of becoming a claustrophobic, self-affirming, classist idea machine.”

2. @fedscoop

This is part of a US government agency and breaks government tech news, so it’s not entirely surprising that it has a central position in this network.

3. @marthalanefox

Martha Lane Fox

Martha Lane Fox (Photo: Flickr/Open University)

Martha Lane Fox balances several roles, as a business woman, the youngest female member of the House of Lords, and not least in her current position heading the digital skills charity Go ON UK.

4. @dilbert_daily

Yes, this is Dilbert’s creator Scott Adams’ Twitter account.

5. @dreamhost

A corporate account for the cloud hosting platform DreamHost.

6. @codefilm

Code - debugging the gender gap

Photo: Code

Code is a documentary exposing just how few software engineers are female or from minority backgrounds, by “debugging” the gender gap.

7. @girldevorg

This San Fran-based organisation have a clear mission:

“Won’t stop til we #closethegendergap”.

8. @blackgirlscode

Black Girls Code works to empower young and teenage girls of colour to go into tech.

9. @womenwhocode

This organisation supporting and promoting diversity in the coding workforce boasts over 25,000 members in 15 countries across the world.

10. @aauw

The American Association of University Women have been promoting education and equality for girls for quite some time. Their tagline?

“Empowering women since 1881.”

Did you find anything interesting or unexpected in the graph? Comment below, or tweet us @ProjectAda_!

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

Less than 1 in 5 of UK top tech bosses are women

Canary Wharf | Photo: S nova

Top jobs in the UK’s technology firms are dominated by men, with over four times more men than women on their executive boards.

Just 18.3% of the board members on UK’s TECHmark companies are women, compared to 81.7% men, according to our analysis. Among FTSE 100 companies, 22.8% are women.

The TECHmark is a specific part of the London Stock Exchange for “specialist segments of the Main Market focusing on innovative technology”.

According to Bloomberg’s profile pages for the 60 companies, their boards have at least 533 men and 119 women on them. One fifth of the companies have no female board members at all.

This means that tech companies are performing worse than FTSE 100 companies.

A government report revealed that women’s representation on FTSE 100 boards was 22.8%. There are no male-only boards in the FTSE 100.

When announcing the report, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

British businesses must keep up the momentum and alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of those FTSE chairs who are not yet doing their bit to improve gender diversity.

13 of the 60 TECHmark companies had no female representation on their executive boards, including Triad BiomedicaGresham Computing and Oxford Biomedica.

Phoenix IT performed the best for female representation on its board, with a third of its bosses being women. BTG is next – with women comprising of 28.5% of its board.

Female representation on executive board

How can we encourage women to study computer science?


It’s unlikely any of you would be surprised, sadly, to hear that only 17.6% of computer science undergraduates were women in 2011.

What might surprise you, is that that number is less than half of what it was in 1983/4 – when 37.1% of undergrads were women.

Computer science is the only field in mathematics, engineering and science where the percentage of women on the course has decreased since 2002.

After leaving university, women made up 26% of the computing workforce in 2013, but still only earned 84cents for every dollar a man earned.

17% of Google’s technical employees are women, and at Facebook it’s a measly 15%. But these statistics are as unsurprising as they are unfortunate, as if only 18% of the people with the qualifications are women, that’s how many women are likely to get hired for the jobs that require that qualification.

However, some universities are taking steps to tackle this trend.

Universities in America are offering courses to train secondary school teachers to teach computer science to their students before, and have started using photos of women in their prospectuses.

The President of Harvey Mudd college, Maria Klawe, said in a speech at George Washington University:

“We made it very clear that being a female scientist, that’s normal.”

The gender gap in tech – in 3 charts


Next time someone questions whether tech really has a gender problem, you can always refer them to this post. (Don’t worry, we’ve even got pedagogical and colourful charts to lighten the mood!)

1) Less than 2 in 10 tech giant employees are women

Google released a diversity report a couple of months ago, and Facebook, Apple, Twitter and a whole lot of other tech companies swiftly followed suit. The results neatly expose tech’s gender gap.

On average, something like 7 in 10 employees at these tech giants are men. But if we break it down further, and look at technical roles specifically, the figures are even more dismaying.

Google puts it pretty simply in its report.

“We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity. And it is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.”

No arguing with that.

2) Female coders “work for free” from mid-November

A female computer programmer in the UK earns 87 pence for every pound her male colleagues earns, newly released statistics from the ONS show.

That adds up to close to £2,000 every year, and translates to women coding for free from Nov 13 through to the end of the year. This chart shows female coders’ salaries as a percentage of their male colleagues’.

Things are even more dismal across the Atlantic, where US women in technical jobs are earning only 73% of what their male colleagues do, according to Narrow the Gapp.

3) One in five top STEM companies had no women on their boards

It’s no surprise that executive boards are not the most gender balanced of places. But did you know that STEM (that is, science and tech) companies are even worse off?

Across the board, FTSE companies have 17% female board directors. Dismal enough. STEM companies, however, have only 13%, the FTSE Female Report 2012 showed.

One in five top STEM companies didn’t have a single woman on their boards, meaning that they’re literally recruiting their leaders from only 50% of the workforce. (In other industries, all of the top companies had at least one woman on the board.)

Anything else?

Should we have highlighted something else? How would you summarize tech’s gender problem in a few key points? Please comment or tweet us @ProjectAda_.