The Untapped Potential of Women in Tech
“Australian women need more equal representation in technical and coding industries”Australian Bureau of Statistics, Women in STEM in Australia Report 2017As our Co-Founder, COO and mum of three daughters, Hayley says: if you can see it, you can be it. The technology sector in Australia is growing rapidly, but women and young girls haven’t been an equal part of that growth. Despite a lot of media attention and great work by organisations like Code Like a Girl and Girls in Tech, research suggests that the participation rate of females in technology – in secondary and tertiary education, and in the workforce – is actually getting worse, not better. So, the big question is: how do we change this? At Code Camp our philosophy for encouraging girls into tech has always focused on one thing: providing positive role models. That’s why each holidays we make sure we have at least 60% female teaching staff to show our kids that coding is not a boy’s sport. A lesson we want both the girls, and the boys to learn! It’s also why we’re super proud that more than half of our head office staff are female as well, and we strive to avoid the classic male-dominated tech company culture. Our team of coders is an industry-wide anomaly, with our two most senior coders and our development team leader all being female. We hire all our staff for both their technical prowess and their interpersonal skills – the best we’ve found just happen to be female. We’ve asked these incredible women at Code Camp, from our software engineers to our senior management, their thoughts on getting young girls excited about tech and coding. Hear their thoughts below:
Amy - Camp operations, former teacher & IT qualified, Code Camp
Amy, you’ve spent lots of time teaching kids to code. How do you find girls experience it? “I feel girls flourish at coding. Something many people don’t realise is how creative coding is. I find this is often the side that girls absolutely love. With coding you can create anything you can imagine, the children’s imagination runs away with them. Girls can be quite apprehensive about starting their coding journey as it’s not something they’ve been interested in before due to the male dominated stigma but this just makes it even more wonderful when their opinions flip upside down after learning they can code and how fun it actually is”.
Jo - Software engineer & mum of 2 daughters, Code Camp
Jo, you recently introduced your daughter to coding at her first Code Camp. What was the biggest takeaway for you, regarding geting girls to love learning about tech at an early age?
“My daughter didn’t see her experience as coding per se it was more about creating a digital adventure. A mix of art, lego construction and storytelling on a digital platform. She doesn’t think she is very good at maths which I think put her off the idea of coding initially. However with Code Camp World she was so focused on what she was creating that her perception of her ability wasn’t an issue and the instant visual feedback made it a smooth learning curve. I always tell her my job reminds me of building lego as a child which is why I love it and now she gets that too. She is always so proud to show off her game and how she can make changes to it”.
Martina - Software engineer & social change advocate, Code Camp
Martina, you’re a woman in tech who has used technology for social change. How do you think girls can make a positive impact around the world with technology? “Technology needs more women not just because they are users of technology and should therefore be included in shaping technological progress and products. Women can also bring a different take on problem solving, different opinions and ideas that can lead to better overall outcomes and solutions. It has been shown that teams with an equal gender mix tend to perform better and have less conflicts. It really is a no-brainer to encourage more women to join technology – especially those areas that are typically male dominated like engineering, operations and software development. To me it is not about encouraging women to become a female Bill Gates but rather about driving change and shaping the future together”.
Louise - Software delivery manager & mum, Code Camp
Louise, you have a unique role in technology, as a software ‘delivery manager’ at Code Camp. This role is is all about communication and team work. What advice would you give to young girls who are unsure whether coding and technology is for them? “The great thing about technology is that there are hundreds of different roles across all different industries. This means that unlike some traditional jobs where skills are useful only for that role, technology roles are very fluid with plenty of choice to move around, following your passions until you find the right fit (which for me is Code Camp!). Take my word, you will never get bored!”.
About Code Camp
Code Camp is on a mission to empower kids to create anything they can imagine, and to inspire 200,000 Australian tech superheroes by 2020!