In the spirit of celebrating International Women’s Day, let’s talk about women in tech.
Did you know that the world’s first computer programmer was a woman?
Ada Lovelace wrote the world’s first computer algorithm for an early computing machine, even though that machine existed only on paper. Lovelace was a brilliant mathematician and one of the first tech visionaries.
You would expect that Ada’s example would lead the way for women in STEM. However, fast-forward 166 years, the percentage of women in tech roles is (critically) low.
Women in tech today
After peaking in 1991 at 36%, the rate of women in engineering has been in steady decline. In 2017, they held only 25% of computing jobs (Observer). In Berlin, about 27% of tech startup employees are female. And still, only 9% women are founders (Gründen in Berlin).
To understand what it is like for a woman to take a journey into tech, we asked our good friend (and our Talent Sourcer) Aga about her challenges & lessons learned after studying Computer Science and working as a programmer for 7 years.
Here is what we have learned:
— Some girls develop an interest towards how things work from an early age. They can be much better at maths and logic than boys.
— People often discourage their daughters from getting into technology because there are other, “safer,” or more traditional, choices.
— Tech is still a “men’s world” where a person is likely to be treated based on her gender, not the work done.
— In Europe, the ratio of women to men studying computer science is very low. In Aga’s case, it was 10 to 180.
— Unlike men, female developers often perceive minor failures as personal failures. It makes technology a rather stressful environment for women.
In the end, Aga gave some inspirational advice:
Do not think about being the only woman in the team, think about being a better programmer. Love your code, love what you do. When you believe in the value of your work and what you should be paid, you will get it. Learn about the latest advancements in tech. Go and watch Star Wars :)
If we really want more diversity in the tech workforce, it’s time be more open to women and also to give new role models to our daughters. This book can be a great first step in this direction: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.
And let’s not forget about Ada Lovelace.
“Lovelace is an unusual example of a woman for her time because she was not only allowed to learn mathematics but encouraged to learn mathematics. She shows what women can do when given a chance.”
Some resources for women in tech (Berlin)
If you are a woman passionate about technology, this is a list of Berlin-based events and resources that could be a great place to start.
22nd March — 4th International Women's Day by Women Techmakers Berlin
Inspiring and informative stories on Code Like A Girl
Free coding events for youth from CoderDojo
We'd love to hear your stories! What are the books, meetups, and communities you recommend?
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you are looking for a job, check out our openings. We really need more women in tech!
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