Ally Watson, female developer at award-winning digital agency Deepend, claims it’s just the way we’re being conditioned, and has launched Code Like A Girl, a digitally led initiative to help inspire and support women in code.
As well as hosting monthly events and meet-ups, Code Like A Girl is an online inspiration network and blog for female coders and women in the wider tech industry, and Ally hopes it will help inspire more women to move into this space.
She told B&T: “I always have been really good at maths. I like problem solving. My personality is always about making lists and I’ve been an organized person. I liked having quite an analytical frame but I hadn’t a very creative side to it. I enjoyed art. I wanted to do fine art and photography and stuff like that.
“But from being young, uunconscious bias means that from a young age girls are not exposed to problem solving and electronic based games in the way boys are. This disparity has led to a greater number of boys being interested in technology and pursuing the sector as a valid education and career path. My core focus for Code Like A Girl is to help likeminded women in the sector grow and support one another, in what can sometimes be a daunting industry for females.”
Research indicates that the sector is heading towards a skills crisis and by the year 2020 there will be 1million more jobs than there are people with the skills to fill those jobs.
In 1991 women held 37 per cent of all computing jobs, today they hold just 26 per cent and 56 per cent of women in tech leave at the mid-level point of their career, compared to just 17 per cent of men, when the loss of their skills is costly to companies.
B&T held a roundtable with Google chief Maile Carnegie, Larry Marshall, CEO of CSIRO, Bailador co-founder and managing partner David Kirk and Australian Chamber of Commerce CEO Kate Parnell earlier this week – the results of which can be read in the next issue of B&T, out August 13 – and they also agree with Watson that females are dissuaded from studying the sciences.
Watson claims there is an ongoing diversity problem within the technology and development sector driving two key trends; not enough women are getting into development and when they do, there is a limited long term career path.
“Coding is one of the most important skills of the 21st century and there is a significant talent drought,” she added, “the industry needs more computer scientists but there’s no natural instinct for females to get into this area and it’s so important that kids, especially females, are exposed to these kind of careers from an early age. They key thing in this industry is thinking outside the box, and being creative with it.”
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