Hi everyone, I’m Emily, a Delivery Consultant here at DS Group! My work here is primarily focused on the Frontend Software Engineering sector, and I’ve discovered that everyday I’m learning something new and exciting. I’ve found it super interesting talking to Engineers and loved getting a better understanding of what it is that they do. Without a doubt, the more people I’ve spoken to, the more my fascination in their skillset grows!
However, I’ve noticed (and I’m sure you all have too) that there are nowhere near as many women in the Frontend Engineering market as men – and it got me thinking: why is this is the case?
Now, I have spoken to some outstanding Engineers with a great skillset and experience, who happen to be female. So, I know women can be good at this job but: why are there less than men within the field?
I decided to reach out to some leading and upcoming company CTOs, Founders and Engineers in my industry and get some opinions on why they think this may be. Most of the people I spoke to were men (honestly, I found it tricky to find enough women to reach out to and chat to – ironic!).
However, I am so grateful for the chats I did have and the responses I got! I got some really interesting answers and there were 3 main themes that appeared throughout: Education, Stereotypes and Roles Models.
It All Starts at Education
Unsurprisingly, five out of the six people I spoke to believe that the main issue boils down to education as the root cause. Education is everything and if technology is not taught to girls from an early age, then they are already behind the boys that are being taught this.
There is evidence to suggest that socio-economic background is a stronger factor for girls’ access to (or rather, lack of access) and use of ICT than it is for boys. And as a result, girls’ confidence with ICT is somewhat lower than that of boys.
So, it makes sense that more boys are finishing school wanting to study tech-based education than girls. Therefore, leading to more men studying for tech-based degrees and as a result, working in the tech industry.
Research shows that the tech industry is almost 75% male, and that even though the number of women working in tech is growing year on year, this number is still very disproportionate. One of the other reasons for this is due to certain stereotypes, that boil down to the ‘belief’ that working in tech is a man’s job. This can make women feel as though they do not have the correct skills that a job in the tech industry would require – oh how wrong these thoughts are!
In many of my conversations it was said that there is a negative stereotype about the industry that can deter women from even trying. However, it is believed that we have come a long way in recent years, and it is a lot more attractive to both men and women alike looking to get a job working in tech – could this lead to less of a divide in coming years? Here’s hoping!
Female Role Models
In one conversation I had we spoke about tech being an intimidating market for anyone to come into. Especially if they’re a woman, looking to try new things and entering a space where there is a significant lack of female role models to look up to - fuelling the stereotype.
One person mentioned the feeling of a “Why don’t I know this?" attitude and the idea of women being put off rather than receiving the motivation and encouragement they need, which could be a crucial factor of having female role models to look up to.
Are things changing? My Thoughts…
I think it’s safe to say that while there is still a significant gap, things are improving. Nearly everyone I spoke to mentioned how they believe things are becoming better and more equal when it comes to women working in tech. I do believe that this is something that is improving exponentially, and I am keen to compare the statistics a few years down the line!
Some of the key things mentioned from my conversations about raising awareness were that:
it is important for companies to engage in mentorship programmes
it can be useful to utilise girls bootcamps for coding, which are becoming much more prevalent
it is also important to create awareness around this area in the workplace, and keep it as a topic of conversation
In summary, I think everyone is hoping to close this gap. If you yourself are trying to get into the tech industry, progress through the ranks or you know someone that is then - let’s all aim to fight this gender bias and encourage a more diverse working environment for women working in tech!
Special thanks to:
Jeff Watkins: CTO – cDesign
Johnny Bridges: Founder – Artificial
Laurence Bargery: Co-Founder & CTO – accuRx
Edwin Wills: CTO – TOSHI
Andrew Brookes: CTO – Faculty
Jarimatti Valkonen: Senior Engineer – Depop