Women in IT

Helen Henshaw - CAO
1st August 2023

CSD is delighted to welcome Nisad Khandokar and Darshana Belsare, two female devs who have joined our growing team of, I must admit, male counterparts. Women in IT is a subject I have been passionate about and frustrated about for my entire career. At CSD we have tried to do our bit, talking in schools and holding up female coders as role models for the younger generation, but the number of female coders in the workforce remains woefully low and the current stats don’t look optimistic. This is despite the best efforts of a range of companies and organisations to change this situation, such as, Girls Who Code, Code First Girls, Women in Tech, Innovate Her and The WISE Campaign to name but a few. Only one in six tech specialists in the UK are women and only one in ten are IT leaders. Despite significant growth in the number of women working in IT roles, female representation in the sector has remained stubbornly low. And yet, the UK economy could benefit from an extra £2.6 billion each year if we increase the number of women in tech to fill the prevalent IT skills shortage.

Research by PWC shows that the gender gap in technology starts in school and carries on through every stage of girls’ and women’s lives. UK startup Code First Girls mission is to close the gender gap in tech by providing employment through free education. Founded in 2012, it has helped more than 120,000 women to learn to code. In their latest 2022 survey, they identified that 45% of their members are those at university or graduated within two years but a staggering 82% studied non-computer subjects at uni (the largest proportion studied business and social studies followed by humanities). A further 37% are career switchers looking to transition into a career in tech and almost half are mid-level, senior or director/executive level.

So what can we do to shake things up? I tried asking the omniscient Chat GBT ‘How can we get more women in IT in the UK’?

This is what it said:

Increasing the representation of women in the IT industry in the UK requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses various barriers and encourages women to pursue careers in this field. Here are some strategies that can help achieve this goal:

  1. Promote STEM education
  2. Eliminate gender bias and stereotypes
  3. Engage role models
  4. Support networking and professional development
  5. Encourage workplace diversity and inclusion
  6. Address unconscious bias
  7. Collaborate with educational institutions
  8. Provide internships and apprenticeships
  9. Raise awareness through campaigns
  10. Support women’s organizations

It is essential to remember that achieving gender parity in the IT industry requires long-term commitment and sustained effort from various stakeholders, including government, educational institutions, employers, and individuals. By implementing these strategies and fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, the UK can encourage more women to pursue and thrive in IT careers.

I couldn’t agree more, coding can take you places, so let’s get going.