Encouraging Girls Interest in Software Development

August 17, 2022
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As you’re on our site, you’ll already know that here at YOPLA, we specialise in app design and custom software in Edinburgh, London and across the UK. You may also know that we’re incredibly proud to have built up a strong and diverse team of developers, where each individual has their own strengths, and their own voice.


Unfortunately not every business is as lucky. Especially in the tech space.  


Fundamentally there seems to be a pipeline problem. Only a very small number of girls are even interested in pursuing technology career paths, resulting in a severely limited talent pool. PwC in their survey of 2000 A-Level students found that only 27% of female students were thinking about a tech career, compared to huge 61% of male students.


While there are many possible reasons for this it does seem that girls don’t feel as encouraged to venture down the STEM pathway. PwC’s research supports this theory, finding that just 16% of girls were actively encouraged to consider tech careers, compared to 33% of boys.


When we have a generation of young girls who don’t envision themselves working in tech, it creates a pipeline problem in the future; it makes it difficult for businesses to hire diverse teams. And this is a pretty big concern.


Why We Need More Women in Tech


Women only make up around 15% of the STEM workforce which means app developer teams are primarily male-dominated. That’s a serious lack of representation and that feeds a wider issue.


Understandably male-dominated software teams build tools from a male perspective. They build what they know, for who they know – male users. But the people actually using these tools? Well, half of them are women. They may have different needs and they may use technology in ways that male developers don’t anticipate. Simple things, right down to how users interact with an interface can vary between the genders … a great example of this is that women on average have a smaller hand size than men. That means that when they’re using apps on their phones the distance between elements should be considered to enable ease of use. Something that a female software developer would notice in testing but will likely go unnoticed by their male counterparts.


The ideal future is one where the people building solutions understand the needs of those who will be using the end product. That’s a future we’re trying to build at YOPLA. Realising that today’s users are increasingly gender diverse, means development teams must be gender diverse, too. This way, we can build business software that best meets all users needs. There are some fantastic organisations taking steps to redress the imbalance in STEM such as GirlsWho Code, which is on a mission to close the gender-gap in entry-level tech jobs by 2030. By tackling the issues head on organisations such as this are making a real difference to the future of how tech will look.  


How You Can Help


We know what you’re thinking. ‘But we’re not a software development company so what can we do to make differences in tech?’. Well no matter what your industry you can still help to shape the future of equality in technology, and do your part to drive positive, long term change.


There are a few simple things that any business can do to take steps towards encouraging girls interest in technology. You could choose to partner with local careers centres or schools, hosting events for girls to better understand the impact technology has on your business. Introduce them to your IT team and show them the software and tools you use, and talk to them about the difference they make to how you operate.


Another way to help could be to hold fun events such as hackathons, aimed at local women and girls in your community. Provide teams with a real - or fictional - challenge such as designing a time-keeping tool or customer order status interface, and encourage them to think about how tech could be used to simplify these tasks.


Looking at existing processes and culture is also key to understanding how women can be made to feel more confident in male-dominated environments. Ask girls and women what you could do to encourage them into the space, and be aware of when and where they might feel uncomfortable. Try and be conscious of gender biased dialogue and consider investing in training and guidance to become more inclusive.


It's also crucial to look at your recruitment process and try to encourage women to apply for traditionally male orientated roles. Consider whether unknowingly you are appealing more to male applicants and try changing up the wording or job requirements to see if that widens the pool of applicants. After all, when girls see themselves represented in roles typically held by men, they are far more likely to understand their own potential.


Encouraging diversity in the tech world is something we hold close to our hearts at YOPLA. If you’d like to have a chat about ensuring your businesses future tech choices are inclusive get in touch today!

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Women in Technology
Co-Founder, Yopla
Some of the clients we've worked with...