Category Archives: News

Top reads: Fixing the pipeline problem – and why it isn’t everything

Belinda Parmar from Lady Geek

Missing out on this week’s top reads in tech? Don’t worry, we’ve got the round-up right here!

Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?

Computing jobs look set to double in number over the next five years – and the gender gap in the workforce is actually growing. This article from the LA Times explores why qualified women are actually leaving tech jobs, arguing that solving the pipeline problem when women keep quitting the tech industry is a little like “trying to fill a leaking bucket”.

“The pipeline may not improve much unless women can look ahead and see it’s a valuable investment.” (Laura Sherbin, director of research at the Center for Talent Innovation)

Want a creative career? Do the maths and put the tech industry top

Belinda Parmar from Lady Geek

Belinda Parmar (Photo: Flickr/Lady Geek TV)

The tech industry still has a huge image problem with the next generation. Lady Geek’s Belinda Parmar wrote in The Guardian about how girls are looking for creative jobs – and are being told that computer programming is dull.

When a study asked boys to think of words they associated with computers, they came up with “design”, “games” and “video”. The girls? ‘Typing’, ‘maths’ and ‘boredom’.”

The Best Cities for Women in Tech

Smart Asset's ranking of the best tech cities for women.

Smart Asset’s ranking of the best tech cities for women.

Smart Asset has used data from the US 2013 Census to see in what cities women make up the biggest percentage of the tech workforce and where they are best paid. Washington DC comes out top in their ranking, with just over 37% of tech jobs held by women.

(Spoiler alert: Silicon Valley doesn’t exactly impress.)

Seen anything else this week that you think we should have listed? Comment or tweet us @ProjectAda_!

Cambridge and Oxford fail to attract female computer science students

cambridge university gender disparity

Less than one in five people enrolled on the UK’s top computer science programmes are female – and Oxford and Cambridge have fewer female computer science students than any other top university.

The technology industry is disproportionate from the educational level as it fails to attract females to enroll on its key courses, data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals.

The UK’s top ten computer science programmes are 84.55 per cent male – with the worst performing university having nine times as many men than women.

Gender balance on top computer science courses

Out of the UK’s best computer science courses, University College London has the most female students. Of its 355 students, 95 are female, accounting for just over one in four graduates.

The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford are the worst for gender representation in computer science, with 10 and 10.5 per cent female students respectively.

Featured image: The University of Cambridge, Richie

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

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg launches mentorship program

Sheryl Sandberg - Lean In

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg is starting up a mentorship network for women in tech. The idea is to boost women studying and working in computer science by networking, supporting and learning from each other.

It’s a well-documented problem that the tech industry is male-dominated – and the future’s not looking brighter. Barely one in five computer science students are women today, a percentage that’s dropped significantly since the 1980s.

Sheryl Sandberg addressed the issue on her Facebook page (where else):

The solution to getting more women into CS is… getting more women into CS. This is because stereotypes are self-reinforcing; computer science and engineering classes “feel male” because they are dominated by men.

To fix this, Sandberg’s Lean In project is starting a new global chapter - to promote women studying computer science and engineering. The project is supported by Facebook, LinkedIn, and the Anita Borg Institute.

Looking for some extra support as you pursue your computer science and engineering career? Look no further—we’d love to have you as a part of a wide network of women who want to Circle up in support of women in CS&E majors at colleges around the world!

In Lean In, Sandberg’s book published in 2013, she described her own experiences of gender differences in tech, offering practical advice for women in the field.

Since then, Lean In Circles have broadened to become an on- and offline community supporting women in tech with monthly meetups. More than 21,500 Circles have formed in more than 97 countries.

(Photo: Flickr/JD Lasica, Flickr/Thomas Hawk)

 

What female representation in Davos says about gender equality globally

pa_davos

Over the past week, as business leaders and heads of state from more than 100 countries gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, a recurrent question would appear in the press and social media: why so few women?

This year only 17 per cent of the 2,872 participants at the annual event were women. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Davos is still mostly a men’s club.

The industry with most female participants at Davos were “Public Sector, Civil Society, Arts, Academia”, with 28,41% of its participants being women. Other industries were “Media, Entertainment & Information” and “Banking & Capital Markets”.

Davos_Datawrapper

 

However, Davos is not alone. Women comprise less than a quarter of senior positions in corporations across the world. Only 3,4 per cent of the companies at the Fortune’s Global 500 have a women CEO, as showed in this chart by Fortune retweeted several times:

In an interview, Barri Rafferty, CEO of Ketchum North America, pondered how much the forum is merely a representation of the how the global leadership is designed at the moment:

“It is hard to blame the forum, but the event has become a bit of barometer of how women are doing in top roles in corporations, politics and NGOs. It is a moment in time when we can count the number of women and see how we are doing.”

Not surprisingly, gender parity was amongst the ten challenges for the global economy discussed at the meeting, amongst topics such as inequality, Internet of things and monetary policy.

In a report about gender equality last year, the World Economic Forum concluded that countries where women and men have equal opportunities have a higher GDP per capita, are more competitive and have better human development.

“People and talents are the key that drive most economies,” says the report. The benefit of gender equality, however, goes beyond the economic case. “Women are half of the population and half of the world’s population. Gender equality is a vital part of human progress.”

WEF has an incentive for executives to bring women. Leaders at the highest level of membership are offered four tickets to Davos to distribute to high profile employees. If one of the tickets goes to a woman who is an executive, the company receives a fifth ticket.

Such an incentive might start changing the gender landscape at Davos, which is great news. But the greatest impact will come from a more balanced representation of women in every level of management, in every industry.

Women in tech: the best posts of 2014

2014

As the year draws to a close, we’ve gathered some of the year’s best posts on sexism, gender equality and diversity in the technology industry.

Some celebrate role models and advances that have been made, others point out glaring cases of sexism in the industry. So, from #gamergate to tech giants’ diversity figures, here’s how we’ll remember 2014.

Why aren’t there more women in mobile tech?

Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA, wrote an article for CNN about the mobile technology industry. In it, she calls for more mobile women – saying that we need to make women in tech the norm, rather than the exception.

As we collectively strive to connect the next one billion users and stimulate the positive change that the mobile internet brings, we must ensure that women will be included in this upsurge.

 

Why female representation matters

In March, the Guardian‘s Aleks Krotoski told us why female representation matters.

Technology companies build products that help us make sense of the world. How can they do this without input from 52% of the world’s population?

The question in Krotoski’s subheading speaks for itself. The fact that girls achieve better grades that boys in GCSE and A level Maths and Computer Science, and yet drop out of the subjects to leave 82% men in higher education classes, begs belief.

In Defense of Women in Tech Groups

This article posted on Geek Feminism in March effectively mythbusts some common arguments against WIT groups. So next time someone tells you they aren’t necessary, point them in this direction. The author makes a clear case for why women in tech groups are essential, not least for networking and for finding role models.

Do you know how you go about combating stereotype threat for women? Logic dictates—and now a study shows—that female role models are essential. So, there it is: female-dominated classrooms, with female instructors, are an obvious win, for women learning technology concepts.

A Brightening Outlook?

On International Women’s Day, Forbes hosted an article talking about the “emerging opportunities” for women looking to develop in technology.

Leo King reported on several high-profile technology figures speaking at an event. While they warned that there is still a shocking lack of representation of women within the industry, they spoke of clear signs of improvement in the opportunities available.

They called for, among other things, an expansion of the opportunities out there for women in tech to advance their career – especially by focusing on education in developing countries.

It is in the interests of companies and governments to help women advance in the technology industry, [a vice president of Intel, Bernadette] Andrietti says: “Women offer a fresh perspective on product design, ways of working, risk-taking and many other aspects of business.”

 

No progress on inequality for 10 years

The Guardian‘s report in May highlighted just how far we’ve yet to go in securing a fair role for women in technology. The figures made for depressing reading.

The percentage of women taking the role has remained largely static at 14% since 2004, when the firm started gender analysis.

At the bottom, the article lists many organisations in the UK dedicated to helping recruit and retain more women in technology.

The Most Powerful Women in Tech in 2014

Forbes’ list on the most “powerful” women in tech gives us some role models within the industry.

The list is taken from a wider one of the world’s most powerful women in general – on this list, the highest from a tech company is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and the first female member of its board of directors.

In 2013, Sandberg released Lean In, a book encouraging women to materialise their professional goals by leaning into their ambitions.

Google’s Diversity Report

google diversity report representation gender technology

When Google published its diversity figures early this summer, a whole slew of tech giants followed suit, sparking a debate about the lack of gender and ethnic diversity in tech roles. The reports showed that barely 2 in 10 tech employees are women, and as Google put it themselves, getting these figures straight is an important first step to making a change.

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.

It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

This post on TechCrunch, published in August, argued that getting women into technology industries was a “trapdoor problem” as much as a “pipeline problem”.

The trapdoor problem is one we can collectively work on without having to wait for a new generation to filter through; and the first step towards solving any problem is admitting that it exists.

Jon Evans said that it’s unacceptable that people “turn a blind eye” to the fact that so many women are dropping out of technology-based jobs once they’re in one. He cites a 2008 Harvard Business Review report, which found that “between ages 25 and 30, 41% of the young talent with credentials in those subject matters are female … [but] 52% of this talent drops out”.

What it’s really like for women in tech

In September, Gwen Moran told a great story which she introduced by saying “it’s a pretty safe bet that no male CEOs could match this”.

In the piece, Heidi Roizen, cofounder and CEO of T/Maker, tells of how she was sexually assaulted by a company executive at a celebration dinner in San Francisco.

“One of the most responsive audiences has been men who have daughters who are entering the workforce,” Roizen says. “It would never occur to them that something like this would happen. When they hear these stories, it helps them be more aware and, when women come to them with these stories, to take them more seriously.”

Why Gamergaters piss me the f*** off

We know. We could make this entire list, or this entire site, about posts on the #gamergate controversy, but heck, who has the energy? However, Chris Kluwe’s open letter is an incensed tirade against gamergaters that actually made me laugh despite having thought that I never wanted to read about the topic again.

You’re ignorant. You are a blithering collection of wannabe Wikipedia philosophers, drunk on your own buzzwords, incapable of forming an original thought. You display a lack of knowledge stunning in its scope, a fundamental disregard of history and human nature so pronounced that makes me wonder if lead paint is a key component of your diet.

When Women Stopped Coding

women computer science coding

This piece from NPR was published in October, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t get around to reading it until the other week. It’s a fascinating article that explores why the percentage of women in computer science dropped so sharply in the 1980s.

These early personal computers weren’t much more than toys. You could play pong or simple shooting games, maybe do some word processing. And these toys were marketed almost entirely to men and boys. This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the computing revolution. It helped define who geeks were, and it created techie culture.

Women in tech earn less than men: Here’s one reason why

Fortune published some great data on the pay gap in Silicon Valley in November.

In it, they explore how women are – unsurprisingly – still paid significantly less than men to do the same job. However, on top of this, the report shows how women also ask for less than men at an interview stage. This is a significant issue in the mentality of people within the industry which needs addressing.

women technology sector curvery pay gap sexism gender split

Survey: Women ‘belittled, underappreciated and underpaid’ in tech industry

The Guardian’s survey of women’s experience of working in the tech sector was published in November and makes for some depressing reading: 73% of tech employees consider the industry sexist. 52% say women get paid less for the same job. But the reports of cultural sexism are among the most shocking.

The gender split was 90% male, 10% female. I was hit on by almost every man I met, and felt like a novelty to the point where I ate lunch in a room on my own to avoid repeated awkward conversations.

Why women are leaving the tech industry in droves

December saw Sue Gardner write an op-ed piece about the important issue of  women leaving the tech industry.

In it, she makes several points which are hard to describe as anything but common sense. Over time, she says, women are ground down by a perfect storm of hostility, demeaning attitudes and condescension. Women in tech are often subject to sexual harassment and have few female role models to look up to – why would the industry seem like a good place in which to work?

If you’re a tech executive, you want your available workforce to be as big and varied as possible. In that context a rational industry would shut down overt misogyny because in addition to being morally repugnant, it’s terrible for business. It would aim to provide the same things for female workers that it does for male ones: an enjoyable culture, competitive pay and challenging work.

 

Have you got any other ideas for great articles in 2014? Tweet us @ProjectAda_ and we’ll add them to the list!

Written by  Clara Guibourg and Ashley Kirk

The topics we’re talking about on #womenintech

women in tech word cloud

Mapping the month’s Tweets on #womenintech gives us a great insight into the key issues and concerns for women within the technology industry.

hashtag women in technology word cloud visualisation

Newtech, computing and hackathons are all words which – unsurprisingly – feature often on the hashtag.

@Stemettes has a big presence on the hashtag. It’s a group showing that “science, technology, engineering and maths are for girls”. @Hackbright, a women’s academy for software development, also dominates the hashtag.

Our namesake, Ada, also makes a presence within the #womenintech noise on the Twittersphere.

The following word cloud shows the key words in a Twitter search for the general phrase ‘women in tech’.

women in technology word cloud visualisation

This throws up some potentially more interesting words. First of all is the very timely #Gamergate controversy, which has been generating lots of comments throughout Twitter since August.

Alongside ‘data’, another key word is ‘startup’, showing that there’s a proactive sense of innovation within the community. There is also a key emphasis on ‘work’ and ‘campaigns’, reflecting the amount of activity within the women in tech scene.

A general theme across both word clouds is optimism and enthusiasm. Words such as ‘interesting’, ‘amazing’ and ‘talented’ reflect the positive attitude within the community to create positive social change and technological innovation within the industry.

How can playing cards combat gender inequality?

cards

Can playing cards help combat gender inequality in tech? The internet certainly seems to feel that way, as a Kickstarter campaign to make card decks promoting promoting women in computing raised over $15,000 from over 350 backers.

Jessica Dickinson Goodman, one of the card deck’s creators, was overwhelmed by the response.

“I knew something special was happening when we reached that $3,000 goal in the first 2 days. We’re now at 400% of funding and climbing,” she told Project Ada on Friday.

In its last 24 hours, the Kickstarter campaign raised another $1,000 to land on just over $15,000.

The idea is to promote the many women who’ve been leaders in computer science, from Project Ada’s own namesake Ada Lovelace, to Grace Hopper, inventor of the first compiler for programming languages – and credited with the term ‘debugging’.

Ada Lovelace

Photo: Wikimedia

According to the creators, no enough of women’s contributions to the tech industry are remembered. The card deck is a way to promote role models for today and tomorrow’s women in computing.

“When I was a little girl, my Mom gave me a deck of cards with names and stories of women who fought in the American Civil War. I played a lot of Hearts and Poker growing up, and those cards were a constant reminder that women change history,” Jessica Dickinson Goodman said.

Notable Women in Computing card deckShe created the card decks along with her mother Katy Dickinson, and sponsors Everwise and Duke University. The Kickstarter campaign was launched to get the playing cards into their second edition – and in less than a month has already quadrupled its goal of $3,000.

The back of every card includes the text ‘Keep our history: Create or expand a Wikipedia page for a notable woman in computing.’  Indeed, getting more women onto Wikipedia was an important goal for the creators.

Less than 1 in 10 Wikipedia editors are female, a 2011 survey from the Wikimedia Foundation showed, and the gender gap hasn’t closed since.

“I figure if Donald Trump has 12,000 words dedicated to him on Wikipedia then Chieko Asakawa, a leader in accessibility research and a role-model in the visually impaired technical community, deserves at least as many,” Jessica Dickinson Goodman said.

Read more about all the women included here.

9 accounts you need to be following for women in tech

rolemodels

Women are underrepresented in digital and tech industries. And both paychecks and attitudes show we’re still some way from gender equality.

This is why it’s both heartening and important to find inspiring role models – and there are many of them out there.

There’s lots of amazing work being done, both by organisations and passionate individuals, to create online and offline communities, where women can get together, network and learn from each other.

If you want to stay abreast of these communities, we’ve made a Twitter list just for you.

1) @Womenintech

Women in Technology recruits women for careers in information technology. And their active Twitter accounts retweets interesting links about gender equality and tech from several other accounts, so it’s a great starting point if you’re just getting into the topic.

2) @Womenshiftdigi

Since gender balances are still skewed in digital careers, WomenShiftDigital encourages women towards pursuing these fields. They also retweet, drawing information about women in tech from many different sources right into your feed.

3) @ggmUK

Geek Girl arrange un-conference style meetups, by and for women who’re looking to be inspired, and build communities. But they also have a strong online community, blogging and tweeting inspiring stories, and have plenty of guest writers writing for them.

4) @genderreport

Gender Report, a project exploring how gender is represented online, also tweets plenty of interesting links about women in media and tech.

5) @Stemettes

Dedicated to showing that ”girls do science too”, Stemettes‘ quirky name comes from the acronym STEM – science, tech, engineering and mathematics.

6) @ladygeek

Sick of the “pink it shrink it” approach with which lazy marketers sell tech products to women? Creative agency Lady Geek is campaigning to end it, and make technology more accessible to women.

7) @KathrynParsons

Kathryn Parsons, the co-founder of coding academy Decoded, works to demystify code and increase our coding literacy. She often tweets about the intersection of tech and entrepreneurship.

8) @BelindaParmar

Belinda Parmar is the CEO of aforementioned Lady Geek and also works with STEM education.

9) @Girlsintech_uk

Girls in Tech arrange monthly events with different high profile speakers. The idea is to empower women by “providing them with more visibility”.

Think we’ve missed anyone important? Tweet us at @ProjectAda_ or @cguibourg!

 

Time to nominate your role models

13334080323_7b02cb3f42_k

If you’re looking to suggest your tech role models for an Everywoman in Technology Awards, it’s time to get cracking. This is the last week to get nominations in for the awards that kick off in March next year.

Organisers have stated that the aim of the awards is to “have more women and girls innovating and making advancements in technology”. The idea is that more female role models will drive gender equality forward in the tech industry.

Nominations were set to close today, but following popular demand, the nomination period was extended for another week, and will now be open until 10 November.

Now in its second year, the Everywoman in Technology Award has prizes in nine categories, ranging from international leaders to students and start-ups. See the full list of categories here.

The awards ceremony will be held in London on 17 March 2015.

Recent Entries »