The solutions to increasing the number of women in tech
Women in Tech Natalie Lowde, co-founder of Change the ratio, speaks on the issue of female minority in the tech industry and the solutions at hand.
Why are there so few women at senior levels?
There is a lack of exposure for female candidates which means people often go under the radar of traditional recruiters. If we factor in the complexities of returning to work after having a family it is often challenging. How do you keep your skills updated? Also the general attitude that women are not so good at the "techhy stuff" which is still quite prevalent even in 2014.
What can be done to encourage women into tech?
In the US you tend to find many senior female IT role models such as Megan Smith and IBM, Xerox and HP are headed by Ginny Rometti, Ursula Burns and Meg Whitman respectively. If there were more role models to aspire to in the UK it would seem more achievable and fewer will get discouraged.
What are the problems?
They stem from the classroom and are simply perpetuated in the boardroom. Lack of relevant IT education is not merely a female issue, this actually runs across the board. Europe is in the midst of a serious IT skills gap and this is becoming a massive concern. How can a company go "digital" if they simply cannot find the resources with the relevant skills? So we have a combination of lack of education, lack of publicity around careers in IT and the still somewhat draconian attitudes towards women in the wider tech community. Phrases such as "brogrammer" are routinely used without anyone actually thinking of the gender inequality connotations.
What initiatives are under way?
There is a lack of exposure for female candidates which means people often go under the radar of traditional recruiters.
The Think Act Report framework is designed by the Government to address equality in the workplace and the eSkills UK computer clubs for girls works to encourage them. There are initiatives like Jo Tasker's Technopop. As well as all the work being undertaken by Tech UK.