Why we do what we do
Why are CF: G courses and activities only open to women aged 18+?
Code First: Girls is a not for profit social enterprise. Since 2013 we’ve delivered £4.2 million worth of free education to young women across the UK. We have one purpose - to increase the number of women in tech. We do this to help address the gender imbalance in the tech industry, where women currently only represent about 17% of the workforce.
Recent research by Tech City UK found that the UK will need another 1 million tech workers by 2020, with tech jobs, on average, paying 36% more than the national average. By not having women in tech roles, not only do we leave out half of our population from in demand, self fulfilling, and well paid jobs, but we also stifle economic growth and remove women from being decision makers in key global industries. And as the many recent industry research studies from organisations ranging from Stanford University to Garner demonstrate, the industry, for various reasons, unfortunately has a challenge with gender diversity. Code First: Girls helps to address that.
Code First: Girls (CF: G) is a registered CIC social enterprise startup that admits only women on to our free community courses in order to address the fact that there are significantly fewer women working in tech roles in the UK. CF: G does this because research has shown that there is a shortage of tech talent in the UK, which in turn has a negative impact on the economy.
By running women only courses do you run the risk of discriminating against men?
The courses offered by Code First: Girls are specifically tailored to women to help address some of the learning challenges that women encounter when entering a field that they are new to, and a minority in. CF:G does not cause discrimination that would disadvantage men from entering the tech industry. Rather, CF:G helps women to develop technical, as well as gender specific personal skills, so that they they can achieve fair representation in an industry where they are currently grossly underrepresented.
As an organisation that works with a minority group in the tech industry Code First: Girls activities are exempt from the equality act as an organisation for people who share a 'protected characteristic'. You can read more about this on the Equality and Human Rights Commission here and here.
There are many online and in person free resources that can be accessed by all. If you are not eligible for our courses, we recommend you visit our Teach Yourself section which has some advice on good places to start your coding journey.
Can you show me some research/evidence which prove that there is a gender imbalance in tech roles in the UK?
A number of research publications address the prevalence of this gender imbalance in the tech roles in the UK.
- The E-Skills UK report entitled “Women in IT Scorecard” (2014) found that by 2013 just 16% of the 1,129,000 people working as IT specialists in the UK were women.
- The ONS Labour Force Survey has shown that: “Whilst employment in IT professional occupations has consistently grown in the last decade and is forecast to grow by 1.42% over the next decade, the representation of females within IT and Telecoms occupations has steadily declined.”
- Tech UK’s report (2015) noted that: “Female representation in the IT professions was low in all UK regions/devolved nations during 2014 […]”.
- Indeed a report published by Westbourne Technology.com has shown that the numbers of women working in the computing and technology workforce has declined: “Significantly in the beginning boom of computing and technology during the mid-1980’s, women contributed 38% to the industry’s workforce¹. Thirty years later and this percentage has halved […].”
This decline of women working in the sector has led to a lack of diversity in the tech and digital workforce, which in turn has had a negative impact on the UK economy.
- Tech City UK’s “Powering the Digital Economy 2015” has shown that: “One-third of survey respondents [companies surveyed for Tech City UKs tech nation report [The 2015 Tech Nation report was launched in February by prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne] considered a lack of local talent to be one of their biggest barriers to growth.”
Recent research clearly states a tech talent shortage not only now but going forward, and a lack of gender diversity in the sector is one important aspect of this shortage. Companies are struggling to recruit the tech talent they need, and the UK tech sector “is set to grow four times faster than GDP this year”, City Am article (2015).
According to the latest stats by London Tech Advocates and a Tech City report, last year there were 1.5 million tech workers in the UK, 45,000 unfilled tech jobs and one million tech jobs were advertised, numbers that are expected to grow in 2015 and beyond. In fact, a Tech City Report writing on 11th August 2015 predicted that digital employment is set to grow by 5.4% by 2020 in the UK, with a further 1 million tech workers required in the UK by 2020.
What all of this research affirms is the shortage of tech talent and the important role that increasing gender diversity in this sector to ensure there is a talent pipeline both now and in the future. The free coding courses we run at CF: G are tackling precisely these issues.
Where I can read more research and evidence?
You can find further information in the below file. If, having read this information you still have questions regarding why we run courses and events for women only, you can drop us a line via our contact form.
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