Today we kick off our 'Celebrating Women in STEM' campaign with a guest blog from Ceri Shaw, CodeClan's Chief Delivery Officer.
Ada Lovelace Day is a moment to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM, but it’s also about encouraging more women and girls to take up subjects like computer science and engineering in the first place, and to focus their careers in sectors such as digital technology.
Recently, CodeClan’s founder and former Chairperson Polly Purvis published an article in which she set out many of the benefits women bring to tech businesses. These include getting a better understanding of a customer base, eliminating organisational and algorithmic bias, accessing a wider and more diverse set of skills, as well as a commitment to equal opportunities. In a recent Forbes article, it is clear that diversity also generates more revenue!
Unfortunately, the tech industry worldwide is not doing terribly well at recruiting women into the tech industry, and Scotland is no exception. Here, women represent just 23% of the digital technology workforce, a far cry from the 50% we should be aiming for. While CodeClan has proven to be a successful route into the tech industry for many women already, our 25% intake of women is still reflective of the industry average. Critical mass theory suggests that for a minority group of women to be able to influence real change, 30% is needed. And at the current rate in Scotland, women will only reach 29% by 2030.
What are we doing?
To address this gap in representation, we’ve recently launched a new partnership project with YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement, who work to promote the full potential of women and girls in Scotland. The project, Young Women Code, will contribute to ending gender disparity in the digital technology sector in Scotland.
Young Women Code will see us work collaboratively as experts in our respective sectors to identify, address, and reduce the intersecting barriers and challenges facing women entering and progressing within the digital technology sector. The project will take an intersectional approach to identify and address the multiple barriers that women may be experiencing such as age, gender, race, class or sexuality, and others.
Through reviewing the barriers and challenges women face enrolling on CodeClan training courses and entering the digital technology sector more generally, YWCA Scotland will roll out and co-produce key recommendations for CodeClan’s 300+ employer partners on how to install and promote fair work principles, and how to create more accessible workplaces where women can progress and thrive.
How can you help?
Throughout the project, YWCA Scotland and CodeClan are looking to learn from you! If you’d like to know more about Young Women Code, share your work in this area, or support this project in any way, please get in touch with YWCA Scotland’s Research and Impact Manager, Rhianna at Rhianna@ywcascotland.org