Tag Archives: gender equality

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)

Here’s the joke that brought #GamerGate back


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.

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

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

What female representation in Davos says about gender equality globally


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”.



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.

How altruism can help to get more women in STEM


Altruism can play a role in making science, technology, engineering and mathematics more accessible to women.

Anne-Marie Imafidon, assistant vice-president at Deutsche Bank and founder of Stemettes, an organization to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM areas, points out that, besides creativity, it is key to show women they are able to solve problems by using technology.

Imafidon says women can be great problem-solvers when empowered by STEM knowledge.

To make her point, the executive mentions initiatives such as the group of four girls in Nigeria that created a machine to convert urine into electricity and the three Irish girls who developed a project to tackle the global food crisis.

Listen to the Stemettes’ founder talking about the topic:

When asked why the tech industry should be aware of the gender gap, she says that all industries would benefit from having a more diverse workforce.

“We have big problems. And no offense, while the guys are chasing billions by making apps, you have to have someone who is actually using the great technology that we have to solve the problems we have, whether they are hunger, illiteracy or infrastructure.”

Listen to her talking about gender equality here:

More from this article

If you would like to know about the examples Imafidon mentioned in her interview, here are the links:

Meet the 11-year-old inventor of the ‘unbreakable cup

This woman invented a way to run 30 lab tests on only one drop of blood

Featured image: Nigeria girls that created a machine to convert urine into electricity. Credit to Erik Hersman