There has been a lot of publicity recently, about the lack of women in the IT and computer technology industry. Indeed VM Learning (having an invested interest in the subject) have written numerous blogs on the progress some of the biggest players in the tech industry have had in regards to achieving a gender balanced workforce. But while Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Google are gradually investing in more female talent and appointing more women to management roles, the female tech leaders of Australia are generating their own progress.
The networking event and blog ‘Code Like a Girl’ was held last Thursday and was designed to provide advice, support and knowledge to women interested in or starting out within the IT Industry. The event featured a panel of some of Melbourne’s trailblazing women in the tech & games industry including the founder of the networking event, Ally Watson.
Watson founded ‘Code Like a Girl’ after becoming sick of being a minority in her won industry.
“ From my experience every sort of technical director I’ve had has been male…this can make you feel like you don’t belong. It can be quite difficult to imagine yourself in a technical directors shoes when all you’ve had is male technical leaders.
So that’s what this initiative is for, we want to highlight local talent and get these, showcase these women who are doing great things in leadership roles, so that women have mentors to look up to.” she said.
Panel Member and founding and director of Deepend, a Melbourne-based digital communications agency, Kat Blackham agreed with this sentiment.
“I’ve just been at an industry conference over in the USA and there was 150 there and there was about seven females, six or seven females…this makes it pretty lonely and daunting for those six or seven individuals” she said.
The disparity between female and male developers within the tech industry has been well documented over the years. Two key trends have emerged; not enough women getting into the industry and when they do, there is a limited career path. This creates a vicious cycle, as when girls struggle to see the longevity of a career in software or computing they avoid embarking on a career in the industry. This explains recent statistics comparing the number of girls in computing in 1991 and today. In 1991 women held 37% of all computing jobs, today they hold just 26%. Furthermore 56% of women in tech leave at the mid-level point of their career.
These are alarming statistics, especially when considering that the technological industry is one the fastest growing industry in the 21st century. The Technological and IT sector is crucial to the future development of our economy, and consequently requires a significant investment in human capital. However, the industry will never reach it’s potential without input from a number of both female and male talent.
This is why both Watson, Blackham and others argue it has never been a better time to start the conversation and create a support network for girls-old and young-interested in technology and software.
At this stage, ‘Code Like a Girl’ will be operating from Watson’s home base in Melbourne, but Watson hopes to eventually have this initiative running across Australia. “We have a lot of talented individuals in Australia, and we need to nurture and support this talent” Watson said.
The first Code Like a Girl event, brought 100 tech savvy women through the ‘Deepend’ Melbourne offices, with the aim to increase these numbers as the organisation organises more events.
To find out more about ‘Code like A Girl’ or how you can get involved, visit their website: http://www.codelikeagirl.com.au/