By Kate Baldwin
Drawing more investment in technology than that of any other European country in 2016, there is no question that the UK is a global force in technology.
Yet, women remain sorely underrepresented in the industry. Just under one quarter of the tech industry workforce are women, compared to 47% of workers as a whole – and one in every 10 London startups has no women working there.
Beyond the numbers, globally the tech industry has come under fire countless times for sexism: from the numerous studies reporting women to be underpaid and underappreciated compared to their male peers; former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s discrimination case; to gamergate, which led to a number of outspoken women in the gaming industry – including Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and any number of women who dared chime in on Twitter – receiving torrents of misogynistic abuse.
But while there is still sore need for change, the tech sector has mobilised itself in a way currently unmirrored by any other industry to encourage and support more women to get involved.
Code First: Girls, which offers women free community courses; GeekGirlMeetup UK, who highlight female role models in tech; to DevelopHer, which creates a network for female tech professionals, are just a few of a growing number of groups.
Even Apple tried to do its bit to support its female employees and enable them to “have it all”, with their recent contentious egg freezing policy.
Across the entire industry, a movement is in progress. Women are helping change the face of the industry – and are proving themselves a force to be reckoned with.
Kate Baldwin is Deputy Chairman of the Parliament Street Technology Forum