Vogue launches coding initiative with Decoded, Westpac, HP and Harvey Norman

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 4 October 2016
Vogue Codes is set to empower women through technology

Vogue is embarking on a mission to introduce more women to coding, with the aim to get more women to “become empowered by technology” as part of an initiative in partnership with Westpac, HP, Harvey Norman and Decoded founder Kathryn Parsons. 

With Vogue Codes, it's aiming to replicate the “Girls Who Code” movement in the US to break down stereotypes that technology is a male arena and is working with brand partners which also have a shared interest in equality and getting women on an equal footing in the tech world.

It is hosting a two-day summit with speakers from across the tech world, as well as a content hub on Vogue.com.au.

The title, owned by NewsLifeMedia, is pushing the tech agenda after realising that it doesn't have a female developer on its team “and that's not through lack of trying”.

​In an invite to the event Vogue says: “This has made us realise technology is an area where we could incite change. There are fundamental and systematic failures in our school curriculum, our universities and workplaces that are discouraging women from entering this field, yet we are told there will be 100,000 jobs created in Australia over the next five years in this sector. At the rate we are going, very few women will be able to fill them.”

“It’s not just coding that we are addressing but also the fact that every future career will be touched by technology. If women lack an understanding of the language of technology, or fail to have a basic knowledge of coding and what it takes to build a digital product, or grasp the importance of digital marketing and social media, they will be disadvantaged in all careers in years to come.”

Vogue also provided a few stats which illustrate the need for the initiative:

  • In 2014, only 17% of IT graduates were women even though women make up 59.9% of graduates from higher education. This is from the ABS.
  • However the Department of Innovation has stated that 1 in 4 IT graduates are women, and less than 1 in 10 engineering graduates are women.
  • The proportion of women working in the IT and computer-related fields has dropped from 50.3% in 1990, to 26.4% in 2015. 
  • According to a recent OECD study, 1 in 20 girls are considering a career in science, technology, maths or engineering.
  • At Google, women make up 17% of technical employees; at Facebook, it’s just 15%. A less formal survey done in 2013 by Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou in the US found that women represented just 12% of engineers at major tech companies. 
  • Microsoft reported that women comprise 29.1% of its workforce, but only 16.6% work in technical positions and just 23 percent hold leadership roles. Twitter said women fill 10% of its technical jobs, with 21 percent in leadership. 
  • 20% of start-ups are founded by women. But within tech start-ups, women have only founded 4 percent of them. 
  • Less than 3% of Australian investors on Angel List are women.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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