Why are there currently so few women in tech?

And why do some people see it as discrimination if we push for a 50/50 gender representation in tech industries? After all, Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted in a recent Devskiller article that “a diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”

Here at buzzvault we believe the same. We want to create change from the inside out.

So, what are we going to do?

buzzvault has taken the decision to launch our #buzzingfor50 initiative, a campaign that will push for more women in tech. Our aim is to achieve a 50/50 gender split throughout all levels of the company by 2019. We’re self-aware enough to know that we can’t change the entire industry alone and overnight, but just as charity begins at home, so does change.

Our six actionable objectives

Through a set of six actionable objectives, we’ll be promoting the inclusion of women in tech from the ground up. Only around 17% of the UK tech industry is made up of women; although, of course, gender isn’t the only factor we should consider when raising issues of diversity.

Currently, we have one-woman developer out of a team of 7, and this is something we’re actively looking to improve. But we can’t hire women if there are no women pursuing careers in tech to begin with. So, we’ll be supporting grassroots women-in-tech organisations and funding coding-for-women initiatives. We’ll also create opportunities within buzzvault to bring in women to the team in junior and volunteer roles, so they can get a hands-on working-in-tech experience.

buzzvault is going to actively invest in women in tech, sponsoring and attending women in tech events, such as Women Who Code, Driven Women , Geek Girls and Beyond the Classroom.

But we’re not just going to sponsor pre-existing women in tech conferences and events. We’ll bring the initiative back to our office, with the aim to organise and run our very own women in tech event too.

WWDC 2018

In fact, we’ve already started on this action point, having hosted an informal Intro to WWDC for both men and women in June 2018.

We recognise that in the tech world many of these meetups can be intimidating and seem too advanced for junior level staff. Therefore, this informal grassroots event was created to provide an open space for iOS beginners to enjoy an evening during which they could speak openly about what that they want to see in the future.

Building on that, buzzvault will tackle the problem internally, looking at unconscious bias throughout all levels of the company. Each and every new hire will have to take part in unconscious bias training (along with our current staff), in order to hopefully change the way, they think about women in tech and, well, life.

What happens when we reach 50/50?

Hiring is step one; ensuring that our working environment is inclusive and understanding of their diverse needs, whether they’re breastfeeding mothers or observe specific religious routines is part of step 2. We want to ensure they stay. Better yet, we want to ensure that they want to stay.

Amma Mensah, The Founder and Director of Beyond the Classroom said that “When we talk about diversity within the world, within organisations, we often think about ticking a box…[But it can be so much more than that.] The reason organisations and community should be diverse is because it creates diversity in ideas, perspectives, experiences, talent and that breeds innovation.”

Who wouldn’t be an advocate for that in the workplace and in all walks of life?

Furthermore, buzzvault will advocate for equal pay and put our (literal) money where our mouths are, because there’s nothing worse than shouting about equality while simultaneously failing to do anything about it internally. In continuation, we won’t penalise women for initiating pay negotiations, because studies have shown that, shamefully, women are judged more harshly than men for pursuing pay rises, even if entirely expected and justified.

We won’t forget about men!

Men hold a great deal of sway, particularly in tech industries, whilst conversations about women in tech are often met with inane questions like “why should women get the job?”—hint: because they’re competent, capable and qualified. That’s why we need men’s active ally-ship, not just their passive agreement.

We want our strong, male advocates in buzzvault to speak up on this topic and drive change in a number of ways such as: talking to other men about the lack of women, notice and correct gender bias in the workplace,  increase the number of female leaders, work with women’s groups, make discussions of gender less “risky” and just simply listening to women’s stories will make such a difference.

Currently, The BBC reports that women are often deterred from applying for tech positions thanks to the so-called ‘manly’ wording of job advertisements; for example, the use of words like ‘manage’ ‘strong’ and ‘dynamic’ were found to put them off.

We believe that women shouldn’t be deterred from applying for tech roles simply because they’ve been led to somehow believe that they can’t identify with skill- sets like ‘competitive’, ‘leader’ and ‘build’.

To be clear though, what we won’t be doing is changing the wording in our job advertisements though. After all, that might encourage women to apply at a surface level, but it subtly and simultaneously reinforces the pervasive stereotype that suggest women are there to ‘support’ rather than ‘manage’, ‘follow’ not ‘lead.’

We know that’s bulls**t

Women are ‘strong’, women are ‘competitive’, women are ‘leaders’. After all, 50% of buzzvault’s board are women, as are 37.5% of our management. But that’s not enough. In fact, there’s always more to be done. Which is why we’re doing it.

Want to follow what we are doing on social media?

Search our hashtag #buzzingfor50