International Women's Day: Part 2

Tellonline is at its core a web design company, employing predominantly web designers and .net programmers. Although we have employed female members of staff for these roles, industry wide the same cannot be said.

In the early days of computing programming and coding, it was deemed a women’s job – to employers it was a simple occupation that required the same type of skills as administration such as organisation. Furthermore, hardware was elevated above software, and so the fact that the ‘inferior gender’ was in charge of the production of the inferior ware was appropriate at the time. It was only when it became apparent that programming was indeed a complex, scientific, and respectable occupation that very quickly it became an exclusively male domain.  Ever since this reverse in attitudes to the recruitment of women for coding, the number of female coders hasn’t recovered relative to males.  Although in other male dominated industries such as engineering and physics the percentage of women has increased over time, this trend is not the case within programming. Despite an increase up until the 1990s, since that point there has been a decline.

The first step to take when addressing this issue is to look at our education figures. Despite the fact that 54% of full-time undergraduates are female in the UK, the average computer science undergraduate course only being made up of 16% female . The University of Oxford is taking great steps to attract more women to the field, beginning whilst they are at school. Their ‘Women in Computer Science Day’ which is being held at the end of the month, is an excellent example of how young women and girls can be introduced to a potential career path.

At Tellonline, we have taken our own steps to be welcoming and inclusive of women programmers, and last year took on a female programming student from our local university in Plymouth as a placement. We hope that we will be able to work with more in the future, and that the industry as a whole will be become more inclusive and representative.

Our leaving thoughts are:
  • Why are women not studying computer science at degree level in the UK?
  • What are you doing as employers encourage females into this industry, and how could you build upon this?

Posted: 13/03/2014 09:05:13