Category Archives: News

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.

Glykeria2

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 hello@wegotcoders.com – we’d love to hear from you!

The biggest problems with #TechSexism – here’s what you said

Wikimedia hackathon

The tech industry is struggling to overcome its problems with sexism in the workplace – both cultural and structural. Women are hugely underrepresented in all technical jobs, and a recent survey by The Guardian showed that 73 per cent of the people working in tech consider sexism to be a problem.

We asked you to share your experiences of sexism with us: What are the biggest issues? Here’s what you said, on the hashtag #TechSexism.

1. The sexist culture

Misogynistic jokes and not being taken seriously are both an unsurprising but unwelcome side effect of an industry with such a skewed gender balance. @blackgirltech described the cultural sexism as a problem:

The effects of a male-dominated workplace have been described by many of the women we’ve interviewed on Project Ada. City University lecturer Dr Simone Stumpf mentioned a brogramming culture she described as “casually misogynistic”.

Decoded’s Kathryn Parsons described something similar when we interviewed her in November.

“People still say to me ‘women’s brains don’t really work that way’. It happens every week. I won’t stop until I never hear that phrase again.”

2. The pay gap

One of our readers wanted us to highlight the gaping difference between men and women’s salaries.

And no wonder.

Here’s a bit of structural sexism that’s hard to ignore. Women in technical jobs only earn 73% of what their male colleagues earn, according to US organisation Narrow the Gapp.

3. Sexist and gendered products

Another reader called out needlessly gendered products. Especially when they’re also casually sexist.

Microsoft’s smart bra is supposed to prevent stress-related over-eating by detecting stress levels. (What they want male stress eaters to do is unclear).

This is the latest in a never-ending line of frankly incredible products. From Bic’s slimmer pens “for her” (finally, a pen my teeny tiny lady hands can grasp!) to extra feminine ear plugs or girls’ Lego (for an early start in gendering). Lady Geek, who campaign against this type of gendering, call this the “pink it shrink it” approach.

Thoughts? How do you think sexism affects the tech industry? Continue the conversation on #TechSexism!

Sexism in tech: Share your story with us

Wikimedia hackathon

We know that women are still under-represented throughout tech and STEM industries. Less than 1 in 5 employees at tech giants like Apple and Facebook are female.

This skewed gender balance become less surprising considering the many reports suggesting that sexism is widespread in tech workplaces. A 2014 survey conducted by The Guardian showed that 73% of tech employees considered the industry sexist – both culturally and structurally.

Join the conversation on #TechSexism

Project Ada is now highlighting this important issue and how to tackle it – and we want to hear your stories. Whether you’re a woman or a man working in tech: share your experiences of sexism – and thoughts on how to change it. We’ll be featuring readers’ stories in an upcoming article.

Get in touch with us here, send us e-mail on news@projectada.co.uk, or even better, join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #TechSexism.

(Featured image: Flickr/Sebastiaan ter Burg)

A male entrepreneur asks: where are all the women in tech?

GirlsinCoding

It was with genuine interest that a male entrepreneur asked a panel of women in tech, “Where are the female talents in the IT industry?”

The question, asked by someone from the audience during the Girls in Coding event this Thursday, opened the debate about the lack of female applicants in tech jobs and about what companies can do to attract more women.

“I get the diversity speech, but how to get more female tech talent?”, asked the entrepreneur from the audience. “CVs from women are not getting through the door.”

In response Amali de Alwis, CEO from Code First: Girls, a social enterprise that teaches coding for free to young women, said that “a lot can be done by tech companies to get more female applicants. There is work to be done. How are you advertising your jobs? A conscious change is necessary,” she said.

Alexa Glick, global diversity program manager at Microsoft, added:

“How is your job described? Words are so important. Research shows that women look at every skill necessary before applying for a job, while men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications. If you say that the successful candidate will need to be ‘100% for the job’, this might scare women, because they might have a family and won’t be able to dedicate 100% of their time.”

The entrepreneur observed that it was fine to attract women to his company’s business area and that the challenge was to get female developers. “In my business area we have a good gender balance, but if you ask me how many women developers are in my company, I say zero.”

The CEO from Code First: Girls noted that the companies also have the responsibility of training people.

“The role of companies is not just to hire the best talents, but also make the right talent.”

The entrepreneur’s question about where are the women in tech is a crucial one. The number of women studying computer science in the UK is dropping: in 2011, only 17.6% of computer science undergraduates were women. The number is less than half of what it was in 1983/4 – when 37.1% of undergrads were women.

Consequently, less women are entering the tech workforce. An analysis by Project Ada has showed that less than one in five UK top tech bosses are women.

Campaign

Getting more women in the tech world is seen as crucial for the future of the industry, said Sinead Bunting, Marketing Director UK and Ireland from Monster, a recruiter company.

“Recently Martha Lane-Fox said if the internet is for everybody it should reflect that and be built by everyone. But at the moment 98% of the code relied upon by the internet and web technologies is programmed by men,” said Bunting. “We need different people to build apps that will reflect the diversity of the world.”

Earlier this month, Monster launched the Girls in Coding campaign to raise awareness to the issue.

Here is a video of the campaign featuring different initiatives in the UK to get more women into tech:

Swedish pop star launches festival for girls in tech

Robyn

Swedish pop star Robyn is pushing to get girls interested in technology – by launching her own tech festival.

She may be best known for pop hits such as “Dancing on my Own” and “Show me love”, but Robyn, whose real name is Robin Carlsson, is also a long-time promoter of gender equality, not least in tech.

Free festival for teens

On Tuesday, she announced her latest step: the upcoming Tekla Festival in Stockholm:

“Tekla will be a festival for girls where they get to try out tomorrow’s technology in different ways in what I think will be a fun and creative environment.”

The free festival will be held on 18 April at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and is directed at 11-18-year-old girls.

3D printing and games

Visitors can join workshops on everything from 3D printing and robot programming to designing games and producing music. And – as befits a festival launched by an international pop star – there’ll be live performances throughout the day, including one by Robyn herself.

Paulina Modlitba Söderlund from Tekla, Robyn and Sophia Hober, dean of KTH

Paulina Modlitba Söderlund from Tekla, Robyn and Sophia Hober, dean of KTH. (Photo: Sara Arnald)

Several companies have already got behind Robyn and KTH’s mission of getting more girls into tech, with sponsors including Google and Spotify.

Combining creativity and tech

Today, only one in three students at KTH are female. Robyn and KTH hope that Tekla Festival will get more girls interested in pursuing technology, by showing the creative side of tech.

“Technology itself isn’t the goal, it’s just a tool to solve problems that our society, organisations and people face,” said KTH’s dean Sophia Hober in a statement.

7 most powerful and influential women in social media

mobile phone with social media icons

Written by Katerina Petropoulou

Women dominate social media platforms. According to Pew Research Center, women represent 77% of Facebook users in 2014, 21% of Twitter users, 29% of Instagram, 27% of LinkedIn, and a whopping 42% of Pinterest users.

But who are the female thought leaders in social media? We picked seven of the most powerful influencers to follow on Twitter for amazing social media marketing tips and insights. Take a look:

Ann Tran

Ann Tran is a social media marketing strategist, a travel writer with a unique approach to social media.

Pam Moore

Pam Moore is a social media influencer and the founder and CEO of a successful digital marketing agency. Her tweets are always insightful and provide excellent tips and how to’s based on her expertise.

Kim Garst

Kim Garst is a Twitter expert who always has excellent advice to tweet about social selling and managing social media.

Marsha Collier

Marsha Collier is the author of 48 books, focusing on social media commerce and online customer service.

Eve Mayer

Eve Mayer is the CEO of Social Media Delivered, a social media company focusing on consulting, training and social media management. Although ‘officially’ a LinkedIn queen, Eve Mayer covers all social media sharing tips and insights into different platforms.

Ann Handley

Ann Handley is the Head of Content at Marketing Profs a great source of social media marketing tips.

Pam Dyer

Pam Dyer is a leader in strategic marketing and a social media marketing blogger. Her tweets are always insightful, covering all the latest trends in social media management.

Now over to you! Which Social Media influencers do you keep in your radar? Tweet us at @ProjectAda_!

Article cross-posted from Twitter Counter

Featured image credit: Highways Agency

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

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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 the joke that brought #GamerGate back

TimJoke

Months after the critical moment of #GamerGate, described as either a movement about “ethics in game journalism” or misogyny against women in gaming depending on whose side you take, the controversy is back.

The comeback is because of a joke made by Tim Schafer, a critically acclaimed game designer, during a speech at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) last Thursday, when he seemed to mock the movement and its sister hashtag, #notyourshield.

Here is the joke that has brought the movement back again:

Google seemed to enter the debate when its Google Cloud Platform account posted the tweet “The future of gaming is in all of our hands. #GamerGate.”

Later after the post, the company deleted the message and posted a new one saying it did not support the community, which has been under strong controversy over the past months.

Controversy, misogyny and cyberbullying

The popular hashtag #Gamergate, which says to stand against corruption in journalism, has also been accused of misogyny and cyberbullying.

It has started in August 2014 after a developer, Zoe Quinn, who received positive reviews for her new game Depression Quest, released in 2013, was accused by her ex-boyfriend of having had an affair with a journalist, Nathan Grayson, from Kotaku, an influential website in the gaming community.

Despite the fact he had not written about her new enterprise, an extensive discussion emerged under the movement GamerGate about corruption and nepotism in journalism. In the name of the movement, Quinn was doxxed, harassed and received death threats messages. She was a speaker at the GDC conference and talked against harassment and misogyny.

The new wave of tweets after Schafer’s joke indicates that the polemic aroung GamerGate is not gone. The posts on Twitter have also been a window into how the debates around minorities and gender equality bring controversial opinions.

The word “feminazi” also appeared. There were tweets accusing feminists of being too radical:

And there were users who seemed fed up with the fact that the discussion around gender was overshadowing the actual activity of playing games:

The debate took over the Game Developers Conference. The Daily Dot said of the movement:

“It’s a very real threat to the mental and physical well being of game developers and the health of the entire industry.”

Quinn, who spoke at the conference, seemed reluctant to name the movement and referred to GamerGate as the villain in the Harry Potter series “Voldemort”, or “He-who-must-not-be-named”, according to the VentureBeat.

“We need some defense against the dark arts,” she said.

UK has one of the world’s largest gender gaps in science

map of europe gender gap in science education

The UK is failing to give British girls adequate education to compete against their male counterparts in science, according to new research.

A new OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report, which measures the performance of 15-year-olds, shows that the UK has one of the largest gender gaps in the world.

The gap between UK girls’ and boys’ results in science tests is 13 – with boys scoring a mean of 521 and compared to girls’ 508. This is compared with an average gap of just one across the 67 countries that took part in the tests.

The UK falls into the bottom five countries that took part in the Pisa tests – alongside Costa Rica and just above Colombia.

Where boys beat girls by the most

worst countries for gender gap in science education

In some countries, girls’ science results were higher than their male counterparts, providing hope for increased gender equality.

Jordan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates were at the top of the rankings – with a score difference of 43, 35 and 28 respectively. In Jordan, where girls beat boys by the highest margin, boys scored an average of 388 in Jordan. Girls, however, achieved 430.

Where girls beat boys by the most

best countries for gender gap in science education

Several countries achieved gender neutral results, where boys and girls scored similarly.

Girls beat boys by a mean of one in Macau, Uruguay, Israel, Singapore and Germany. Czech Republic, Chinese Taipei, Tunisia and Vietnam were similarly close, with boys performing slightly better than girls – by a single point.

“Not determined by innate differences in ability”

The results have raised concerns among experts that the education system is failing to provide girls with the training and support needed for future careers in science and technology industries.

Pisa has found that, in general, girls have higher expectations for their careers than boys; but on average, less than 5 per cent of girls contemplate pursuing a career in engineering and computing. In virtually all countries, the number of boys thinking of a career in computing or engineering exceeds the number of girls contemplating such a career.

In some of the top-performing countries and economies, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, girls perform on a par with their male classmates in mathematics and attain higher scores than all boys in most other countries around the world.

The organisation said of the findings:

These results strongly suggest that gender gaps in school performance are not determined by innate differences in ability. A concerted effort by parents, teachers, policy makers and opinion leaders is needed if both boys and girls are to be able to realise their full potential and contribute to the economic growth and well-being of their societies.

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

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