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Closing the Gender Gap in Tech with ‘Girls Who Code’

Tarika Barrett, Girls Who Code, Gender Gap in Tech

A Little About Tarika Barrett

Dr. Tarika Barrett is the dynamic CEO of Girls Who Code, a global non-profit organization committed to closing the gender gap in technology.

As the former COO of the organization, she played an instrumental role in spearheading the Summer Immersion Program and after-school Clubs Program, reaching 450,000 girls worldwide.

The Girls Who Code’s Mission

In today’s tech sector, women are significantly under-represented. However, Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organization, is on a mission to change that by closing the gender gap in new entry-level tech roles by 2030.

Tarika Barrett, the CEO of Girls Who Code, is all too aware of the existing disparities. Only 26% of computing roles are held by women, and the statistics are even more disheartening for Black and Latinx women, who make up a mere 5% of computing jobs. Since its establishment in 2012, Girls Who Code has made significant strides in empowering girls and women in computer programming.

Why do we need more women in tech?

Having more girls in tech is crucial because the tech workforce needs to reflect our communities and the world at large. However, girls grow up seeing only male technologists, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, without hearing about equally important female pioneers in technology like Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Ada Lovelace, or Grace Hopper. This lack of representation denies girls the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the field.

Currently, the tech sector reflects the priorities of a privileged few with a singular perspective that disproportionately benefits them. By closing the gender gap in tech, we can foster innovation and drive progress that benefits everyone.

Barriers to Women in the Tech Sector

Several significant barriers prevent women and girls from entering and thriving in the tech sector.

  1. Lack of Female Role Models: Half of women in tech report a lack of female role models, making it difficult for them to envision themselves in the industry and pursue careers.

  2. Limited Opportunities: Many women feel that they lack the same opportunities as their male counterparts, hindering their progress and growth in the tech sector.

  3. Underrepresentation in Leadership: Women make up only 5% of tech leadership positions.

  4. Inhospitable Work Environment: Research conducted by Girls Who Code and Accenture revealed that half of women leave the tech workforce by the age of 35.

  5. Discrimination and Harassment: Even at the early stages of their careers, many young women in tech face discrimination ranging from sexist and racist comments to blatant harassment.

  6. Lack of Diversity in Hiring: Some women report going through multiple rounds of interviews without seeing a single woman or a woman of colour. This lack of diversity in the hiring process perpetuates the underrepresentation of women and people of colour in the tech sector.

Closing the gender gap in tech is crucial for diversity and innovation. Barriers such as limited opportunities, lack of role models, and discrimination must be addressed. By promoting inclusion and providing equal opportunities, we can create a tech sector that benefits everyone.

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