Women in Tech


Image: Creative Commons licence – https://www.flickr.com/photos/wocintechchat

This is a curated content feature, designed to serve as a record of the state of ‘Tech’.

(Content last updated: Jan.2020)

How women are making progress in shaping, challenging and surmounting the social, cultural and collaborative barriers to progress.

UN Women – News Latest news from UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

  • Survey shows high support for paternity leave across North Africa and Middle East
    by UN Women on September 29, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    A new UN Women survey has found high support for expanded paternity leave policies throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and for increasing fathers’ participation in childcare.

  • Speech: Ready to be respectfully disruptive
    by UN Women on September 29, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    Opening address by UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous at the 2023 HeForShe Summit, held in Gotham Hall, New York City, on 21 September 2023.

  • HeForShe summit discusses gender bias in AI and how to encourage male feminist allies
    by UN Women on September 29, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    At the HeForShe summit, leaders discussed artificial intelligence, factors that are shaping dominant narratives around masculinity today, and offered concrete positive alternatives for men to foster allyship and leadership in the pursuit for gender equality under the call to be respectfully disruptive.

  • ‘Gender equality is not an option, but an imperative’ – Women leaders gather at UN summit
    by UN Women on September 27, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    The Platform of Women Leaders, established in 2022, is convened during the high-level week of the UN General Assembly each September. This year’s meeting focused on accelerating the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, pertaining to gender equality.

  • Speech: The women’s rights crisis: Listen to, invest in, include, and support Afghan women
    by UN Women on September 26, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Remarks delivered by UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous to the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, UN Headquarters, 26 September 2023.

  • Global Alliance for Care leads changes in the care economy
    by UN Women on September 22, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the fragile state of global care systems and highlighted the vital — yet unpaid — roles predominantly assumed by women. During the pandemic, women took on 29% more childcare than men and faced higher job losses due to care duties. COVID-19 also highlighted the need to view care as a public good, transitioning from a private, cost-centric, and gender-biased perspective to a public and investment-focused one. Governments, civil society, and business leaders now recognize the need to address paid and unpaid care roles to further gender equality, social and economic justice, and other Sustainable Development Goals, including those relating to poverty, education, health, work, inequality, and sustainable urban environments. Against this backdrop, the National Institute of Women of Mexico and UN Women launched the Global Alliance for Care at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City, in March 2021.

  • UN Women champions historic actions at Generation Equality Midpoint 2023
    by UN Women on September 21, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Generation Equality, the world’s leading initiative to boost investment and implementation of gender equality, marked its midpoint milestone at a summit with the co-leadership of the governments of Tanzania and Iceland and UN Women on 17 September 2023. The event, which included more than 50 speakers from more than 25 countries in the areas of activism, policymaking, civil society, philanthropy, and the private sector was an opportunity to reflect on achievements and chart a way forward to fulfil the initiative’s ambitious commitments by 2026.

  • Young women in Uganda lead nationwide action against climate change
    by UN Women on September 21, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    Over the last two years, Uganda has seen a flowering of climate activism led by young women and girls.

  • In focus: Generation Equality Midpoint
    by UN Women on September 21, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    On the 17th of September, UN Women together with the governments of Iceland and Tanzania, marked the midpoint moment for Generation Equality to bolster its agenda for gender equality acceleration at a critical time for women’s rights. Generation Equality is the world’s leading initiative to boost investment and implementation of gender equality. It brings together organizations from all corners of society to catalyze progress, push for change and take bold actions together.  

  • E-commerce platform bridges the digital gender divide in Rwanda
    by UN Women on September 20, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, with many confined to their homes and businesses forced to shutter, digital systems became essential across all parts of life. This moment exposed a stark gender divide: many women-owned businesses operated offline and faced significant challenges when they suddenly needed to transition. But it also presented an opportunity to increase their engagement and participation within the e-commerce sector. As a leader and commitment-maker under the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Innovation and Technology, the Government of Rwanda pledged to double the number of women who actively use digital financial services.

We would argue that the thematic consideration of ‘Women in Technology’ can serve as a  contemporary metaphor for the state of feminism. It’s a pitted landscape of brilliant energy, success, the deepest disenfranchisement and endless looping contradictions.

The regularly updated content and opinions expressed in the links below are the sole domain of their creators, but we would be very interested to hear your take on the debate too.

Historical updates, the context…

Update: June 2018:

Google publish much about equality and diversity, but are they hitting their targets? You can find a recent article from The Guardian below, informing the debate by their acceptance of discriminatory pay within the company, still.

See – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/03/google-childcare-center-teachers-women-pay-pay-discrimination

Previously published: The Google ‘Manifesto’ 2017


Living in a bubble, inside a house with frosted windows, talking only to your colleagues, who hold entirely similar views – all drawn from a similar, deeply conservative, exclusive mind-set. Amazing really.

This doesn’t sound like the organisation that claims to be at the cutting edge of world-changing, inclusive techology.  At least we think not.

The 2017 internal ‘Manifesto’ is all over the net by now. The sensible, measured and balanced reflection on this deeply  unbalanced viewpoint may not be.

We recommend our readers to the article by Yonatan Zunger. (Himself, now, an ex-Googler). Read more here

In a  recent article in VOX, Cynthia Lee, a woman who has led coders, developed start-ups and is  now  a lecturer in the Computing Science department at Stanford, sets out to ‘ladysplain’ the issues in the Damore ‘manifesto’.

You can see the Vox article in full here. Lee makes five key points in her rebuttal.

  • Fatigue. The feeling engendered by constantly justifying the female presence.
  • Resistance to divide and conquer. ‘Speaking for myself, it doesn’t matter to me how soothingly a man coos that I’m not like most women, when those coos are accompanied by misogyny against most women’
  • The science of averages. Google hires less than one percent of all applicants. They cannot be an ‘average community’.
  • The use of race in the Damore exposition.
  • Open-ness to diversity? A position explicitly denied in the manifesto’s attempt to end ‘diversity enhancing’ stratoogle.egies at Google.

J. Doe in a long read from the pages of Medium, tells a very detailed story about the Damore document. She lists, if it is a she, nine deeply sexist assumptions at the heart of this misguided narrative from Google?

  1. A meritocracy would have more men than women in tech, because men are inherently better/more valuable than women.
  2. Women’s issues are not relevant to men at all.
  3. Women are not fulfilled by leadership positions.
  4. Housework and childcare are enjoyable leisure activities, not real work.
  5. Diversity efforts are only to make the company look good, because women’s work does not contribute to the company’s success or bottom line.
  6. Gender bias is not a real issue. Anyone who thinks so is blinded by political bias.
  7. The left values diversity because they like to to take care of and protect weak and helpless victims, like women.
  8. Women don’t actually want to get ahead in the workplace.
  9. Men should be able to promote sexist views with impunity.

A world of assumption we do not recognise. Read more here

Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University. His most recent book is “Ethics in the Real World.”

He argues, included for balance here, that Damore should not have been dismissed from his post at Google. In the pages of the New York Daily News he cites Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO,  claiming that the manifesto ‘promotes harmful gender steroetypes in the workplace‘.

‘Each Googler (is) to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination’ says the Google Code of Conduct.

By sacking Damore, goes the Singer argument, Google are creating the very place where those, of a narrow, exclusive and rightist view of the world, will be intimidated into silence.

It didn’t stop the publication of this notorius document in the first place, though.

…plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  Nothing more to say.

The Women In Tech List

See more here…

A growing list of Women in Tech groups across the globe. Why not add your group or country to the list?

Below, some of our favourites for content, relevance and reach.

UK:  Women Who Code – https://www.womenwhocode.com/london

Switzerland:  Duchess – http://jduchess.ch/

Netherlands: Bitches & Bytes – http://www.meetup.com/Bitches-and-Bytes/

(Look out for those groups that make male coders welcome to events too! Ed.)

Science, Technology, Innovation, Women And Youth Key To Driving Agriculture’s Transformation In Africa…


Samuel Otieno writes about the importance of women and youth in agri-tech, developing key drivers for food production and security  across the continent.

Samuel derives his insights from the 6th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) held in Kenya, 5-9 September 2016. (The AGRF web site is an important information and policy locus for the emerging pan-African Green Movement regardless of gender…Ed.)

Source: http://www.iafrikan.com/2016/09/12/science-technology-innovation-women-and-youth-key-to-driving-agricultures-transformation-in-afrika/

Accessed: 23.09.2016

Girl Geek Academy: Global Scholarship worth $15,500

The Girl Geek Academy writes to a global audience…

”Our amazingly incredible friends at General Assembly are giving you the chance to earn a Source: scholarship towards the Web Development Immersive program, launching this 26 September and 7 November at General Assembly Melbourne.

You can apply from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD — you just need to make your way to Melbourne to participate in the course.

One individual will receive a full scholarship for this full-time, 12-week program and learn the skills needed to become a junior web developer. Applications close Monday, 12 September”.

Source: https://medium.com/girl-geeks/girl-geek-academy-global-scholarship-valued-at-15-500-1c8412266d7c#.t3681dnd0                  Accessed: 23.08.2016

Editor’s Note:  ‘General Assembly is an educational institution that transforms thinkers into creators through education in technology, business and design at nine campuses across three continents‘.  Check out the simple application form here.

See you in Australia?

Jane Silber of Canonical interviewed

jane Silber of Canonical Image
A short bio article on Wikipedia…

‘Silber has been running Canonical (maker of Ubuntu, among a great many other software products) in one form or another for well over a decade at this point, first as COO and now CEO.’

A thoughtful interview (July 2016) by Seth Colaner for anyone interested in Women in Tech. Jane Silber has a view on career trajectories for women, but is also reflective about STEM enagagement and where operating systems may go in the future.

Source: US site tomshardware.com  See http://www.tomshardware.com/news/women-tech-jane-silber-canonical,32265.html     Accessed 30.07.2016


Diversity at Google

We liked this short video pitch about diversity at Google. We felt the tone and ambition expressed by this global tech giant, whilst recognising a journey still to be finished, expressed empathetic concern for their workforforce, actual and potential.

If the filmic content translates into company culture, then women in tech can secure their place at  the global tech table.

You can read the full Google blog on diversity, and see their company diversity stats here. Google have also made their diversity awareness and un-biasing the workplace training materials openly available on the re:Work web pages. See more here.

Source:  https://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/focusing-on-diversity30.html Accessed: 20.07.2016

redStarFlagged    Women included in the Civil Rights Act as a joke.

A powerful telling of the story of how the US 1964 Civil Rights Act came to include both religion and sex into the equality of employment section of this pivotal Act.

Debated and voted upon by a predominantly male House of Representatives with now shocking sexist attitudes, this ‘long read’ from the pages of Medium, is a telling abstract from Because of Sex by Gillan Thomas, looks at the consequences of this ‘incidental’ inclusion in statute.

Source: https://blog.longreads.com/2016/07/07/women-were-included-in-the-civil-rights-act-as-a-joke/  Accessed 13.07.2016

shoppingIconBuy or review the book from Amazon.co.uk here

Seven grants to close the gender gap in STEM

‘Women are a minority when it comes to technology. Aware of the gender gap in the sector, companies, schools and nonprofit organisations are partnering to offer scholarships to women as a way to boost diversity and female representation in the STEM industry’.

Source: http://www.projectada.co.uk/scholarships-grants-women-tech/  Accessed: 01.07.2016

(Project Ada is a UK based web site and team, delivering news, opinion and resources for women in tech in the UK. A great antidote to the notion that women, keyboards and servers only coalesce in California…Ed.)

See more here.

Code with Veni

‘After watching the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, I was inspired to share my experience as a software developer with other women. I started mentoring women who are getting started in tech. With this website, I want to reach more women and encourage them to explore the world of tech’.

Source: http://www.codewithveni.com  Accessed 01.07.2016

This is a great site to help broaden the Women in Tech emancipation agenda. Not only that, but you also have available an interactive global map of women coders. Advice and support for the aspirant female coder only one click away. Find the map here.

See Veni’s stylish and comprehensive site here.


redStarFlaggedThe United State of Women, White House Summit, USA. June 14th 2016.

If we wanted the Obama administration to do one thing well, and create a lasting legacy across a broad spectrum of thematic emancipation and women led development issues…(this would be it…Ed.)    Accessed: 13.06.2016

 Read more about the summit themes and challenges here

Female academics: don’t power dress, forget heels – and no flowing hair allowed

Jonathan Wolff’s column about the way academics dress caused uproar on my Twitter and Facebook feeds this week. And rightly so. Despite occasionally acknowledging that some academics might be women, his comments betrayed his assumption that academics are male, for apparently their default uniform comprises trousers, a jacket, a shirt and a tie’.

( Francesca Stavrakopoulou, The Guardian – Accessed 13.06.2016)

Read the full article here

redStarFlaggedThe Pie is Rotten: Re-evaluating Tech Feminism in 2016

‘Feminism is multi-faceted: to reduce it to “believing in equality for men and women” is to strip it of much of its meaningful, actionable, critical thought. We must ask ourselves which groups are helped by our advocacy and which are undermined. A feminism that upholds the toxic, oppressive practices of the tech industry and only uplifts privileged women is not one that will bring about true equality’.    (MODEL VIEW CULTURE: A magazine about technology, culture and diversity. Accessed: 10.06.2016)

Read the full article here

Want More Money? You Need More Women.

‘Over the last few months, we’ve seen amazing headlines about how female leadership makes companies more profitable, from the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal, to Quartz, to Forbes, to the Harvard Business Review.

This research provides evidence of better financial outcomes for doing the right thing: putting more women in C-Level jobs. More money and doing the right thing? That’s an amazing combination…’      (codelikeagirl on Medium.com 10.06.2016)

Read the full article here

redStarFlaggedYounger women are more likely to be paid less than men in tech

‘The pay gap may close with age, but women entering the tech workforce are finding themselves being paid way less than their male counterparts, a new survey by Comparably shows’. (Businessinsider.co.uk)

Read the full article here

How These Women Became the Most Powerful in the World with Money, Media and More

‘What does it take to become one of the most powerful women in the world? … celebrate the women who have fought against wage discrimination, a lack of representation at the top and our unconscious biases to make it to the top.

Forbes’ Most Powerful Women List 2016 it lists the 100 women who have used their power, influence and money this year to change our world’. (Thememo.com  07.06.2016)

Read the full article here

There’s an £8,000 coding scholarship for women in London

‘Makers Academy is offering six free spots on its coding course because “there are not nearly enough women working in technology”. In our new digital world, people are signing up in droves to learn new skills to fill the increasing number of jobs in the sector.

This is all great, but one thing is wrong, and it’s holding everyone back: There are not enough women in coding’. (Thememo.com   03.06.2016)

Read the full article here

Woman Who’s Created the 21st Century Finance Model for Emerging Technologies

…an excerpt from the forthcoming book The Internet of Women: Accelerating Culture Change to be published on June 30th:
Riva-Melissa Tez is the CEO and co-founder of Permutation in San Francisco. A London native, she runs an artificial intelligence platform and incubator. In her spare time, she works on The Longevity Cookbook…  (Medium.com  09.05.2016)

Read the full article here

Twitter abuse – ‘50% of misogynistic tweets from women’

‘Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.
Over a three-week period, think tank counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.  It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone’.  (BBC.co.uk  26.05.2016)

Read the full article here

100 Awesome Women in the Open-Source Community You Should Know

‘There have been a lot of posts about gender in the development community, we realised that we were in a great position to contribute with data. It started with the question, how will we determine gender across 6 million developers. We took the approach of classifying names based on their statistically likelihood to be either male or female. We started with cleaning up the names used in commits: separating first names, last names and usernames’.  (blog.sourced.tech  25.05.2016)

Read the full article here

redStarFlaggedSilicon Valley’s reluctant housewives: immigration law bars women from work

‘…these are the wives of Silicon Valley: women who are integral to the continued success of the Valley’s multibillion-dollar computing industry – but also entirely invisible to it. Their husbands are the engineers who, headhunted from across the globe, emigrate to Silicon Valley as H1B “skilled workers”, helping to drive innovation in companies like Apple, Google and Facebook’.  (theguardian.com  19.05.2016)

Read the full article here

ELLE’s 2016 Women in Tech

‘…Marcela Sapone, 30, spent spring break of her first year at Harvard Business School in 2013 on “start-up lockdown,” a project she’d thought up that involved her and four other students testing five business ideas over five days. The concept that seemed least feasible, conceived by her classmate Jessica Beck, was a subscription service that allowed busy professionals to outsource household tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning’.  (Elle.com  13.05.2016)

Read the full article here

Feminists encourage women into tech even when their interests lie elsewhere

”President of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, speaking informally in January at the National Bureau of Economic Research Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce, observed:

…it does appear that on many, many different human attributes-height, weight, propensity for criminality, overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability-there is relatively clear evidence that whatever the difference in means-which can be debated-there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population. And that is true with respect to attributes that are and are not plausibly, culturally determined.”  (lagriffedulion.f2s.com  July 2005)

Read the full article here

Women in tech are taking shorter lunch breaks than men

‘Over 3500 employees in Tech were polled and asked, “How Long Do You Take for Lunch Breaks”. The info-graphic breaks down the answers by Gender, Work Departments and Cities. The data was complied and visualized by Comparably, the online platform for transparency in workplace compensation and culture. Comparably lets employees see what people like them are making in base, bonus and equity, and provides deep insights around workplace culture’.    (Comparably.com  17.05.2016)

Read the full article here

Tech in Pink: First All-Women Coding Bootcamp in Nairobi

‘At Andela, we believe we are going to change the world and act accordingly. Here’s a glimpse of what Andela developers Gertrude and Yetunde are doing to inspire their local communities.

Last week, a group of 15 women with various levels of coding experience gathered at the Andela Kenya campus to begin a coding session led by Andela developers Gertrude Nyenyeshi, Margaret Ochieng , Collin Mutembei and Eric Gichuri. This is Start from Scratch – the first Tech in Pink event held in Kenya’.   (Andela.com   17.05.2016)

Read the full article here

How we taught women to code, built a CRM and helped an NGO

‘You never actually feel geeky doing geeky stuff, but there I was explaining to three women what we were about to precariously embark upon, building a web application on Ruby on Rails and all that. We only had 8 weeks to do this, and they’d have to learn HTML/CSS, a sprinkle of JavaScript, along with Ruby, the language, and Rails, the framework.

I felt pretty geeky then’.    (Techinasia.com   11.05.2016)

Read the full article here

redStarFlaggedWomen in Tech Band Together to Track Diversity

Ellen Pao spent the last few years spotlighting the technology industry’s lack of diversity, in court and beyond. Erica Baker caused a stir at Google when she started a spreadsheet last year for employees to share their salaries, highlighting the pay disparities between those of different genders doing the same job. Laura I. Gomez founded a start-up focused on improving diversity in the hiring process…  (newyorktimes.com  04.05.2016)

Read the full article here

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