Changes for Women in Tech Despite Lack of Dramatic Increase in Numbers

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Dr. Sue Black , a computer scientist and researcher at University College London, recently shared her experience with the Guardian regarding the changing environment for women in computer science.

Dr. Black remembers hearing that women were not as good as men at a lot of things growing up, such as singing on TV. As a PhD student in software engineering and single parent in 1998, with only about 15-20% women in tech, she received a similar message. “Over the years, when I’ve talked to people about the lack of women in the technology industry, they’ve said things like: ‘Women are no good at tech, and if they were any good they would work in tech’; ‘Women don’t like tech – they are better at xyz,'” she says.

From the beginning, Dr. Black has fought against the gender imbalance in the industry. She created BCSWomen at the British Computer Society and founded Techmums.

Despite these and others’ efforts, almost 20 years later, that percentage remains the same.

However, Dr. Black shares a story that in which she tweeted Computing News about its all male speaker list at the CTG Summit. Other social media accounts such as the viral All Male Panels blog further supported her remarks.

While instances of the #allmalepanel still certainly exist, she also mentions her experience at InspireFest, a recent STEM Conference in Dublin. This conference featured 75% female speakers including Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Brianna Wu who shared their stories of inequality in the industry.

While there is certainly much room for improvement for women in ICT, there seems to be a slow but steady trend towards female empowerment in the industry.

Source: Dr. Sue Black, The Guardian