As the twin of a computer science student, I have a unique relationship with tech. I have a real-life version of ‘what if?’ sitting in my living room. Watching him work is like looking into a parallel universe where I made a very different career choice. One with more code than comment, more labs than literacy and much, much, more cash.
Born into a white, privileged background, I considered the tech industry very much within my grasp. Just like my brother, I had access to computer science education and the A grade GCSE to prove it. (Not to brag.) Computer science was a career option I considered, flirted with and dated once or twice before deciding we’d be friends. I had the choice to watch the tech world from afar, take it or leave it, forget about it and then get offered a bursary for my trouble. But I wanted writing, words not numbers, so I stood up an entire industry and ghosted tech until it got the message. At least, I thought I did. I thought I had power – I was wrong.
Female representation in the tech sector has stalled over the last 10 years (Women in Tech). Stalled, in a busy, oversaturated millennial mess, the representation of women in a growing industry has stalled. It seems unimaginable that anything could slow in a world where every refresh brings more notifications, every day brings more debt and I can watch whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I am.
But just 17 percent of those employed in tech in the UK identify as female. (Women in Tech) 17 percent is nothing. Do you remember being 17 years old? You’re not a kid or an adult, you get none of the perks and all of the responsibility. It was rubbish. Scoring 17/100 in a test? Rubbish. You know what’s a good game? 20 questions. And do you know what isn’t? – you get the idea. Perhaps, this is verging on the ridiculous, but my point is: no one is celebrating 17. No one thinks that’s enough and certainly not for representation in an entire industry.
Tech may not have a hashtag as scathing as the film sector but female inequality is real and painfully present. A progressive industry like tech should understand that. Maybe it just needs a nudge? That’s where the Women in Tech campaign comes in. While sharing a few uncomfortable truths about the tech sector, the campaign educates women on the industry, by sharing the knowledge of those who know it best. By celebrating women winning in tech and posting ‘how to’ CV guides, the campaign paves young women’s way into tech in an exciting way. It’s about growth and improvement – #WomenInTech is positive, let’s hope it stays that way.
I thought tech me was miserable. I imagined her typing alone, locked to a screen – not so different from journalism – but crying over code rather than commas. But as it turns out, she simply wouldn’t exist. With representation at 17 percent, Women don’t get to reject tech – the industry does it for us. Let’s hope #WomenInTech helps – I’m trying to be optimistic.