Toys aren’t just for boys – women in computing

Women in technology

In a 2013 the UK employs some 1,129,000 people working as IT specialists.   However, less than one in six (16%) of these were women.  The shortage of women in computing and tech careers is endemic in all European countries too.

From a very young age girls need to be encouraged to delve into subjects and activities that could help secure the gender gap in Computing and Technology related careers.  Primary schools are where to start showing girls that they ‘can engineer too’.

Pink Engineering toys

An innovation called ‘Goldie Blox’ is a new range of engineering inspired toys for girls.  Goldie Blox aims to empower girls.  Creator Sterling wants to take away the obsession with pretty princess role models to ‘disrupt the pink aisle’ and engage girls’ brains.

There are a number of up and coming programmes to get girls into coding and a number of useful websites exist with information for girls who are curious about the prospect of a career in IT.  ‘Codefirst: Girls’ is a great site which promotes free coding courses, events and ‘hackathons’ for those who want to meet other women in computing and those interested in coding and also to learn more about the industry in general.

Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo

The CEO of Yahoo – but can you name her?

Made with code

The Google ‘Made with Code’ project aims to encourage a million girls into computing careers by 2020 and targets the younger generation.  Research shows girls decide if they want to pursue a career in technology well before university.  It is in fact when they are still young that they are actually discouraged from trying to delve into the male dominated world of computers, technology and engineering too.

The main issue is that those at university ages who have an interest in coding may not have the confidence already instilled in them to break into the male dominated industry.  Therefore, colleges and universities need to get involved and encourage women to feel like they can be great programmers too.


How many of these names have you heard of?  I bet you’ve heard of the first three or four, but never heard of the women in computing and the business leaders in the list below (the last four names)?

  • Bill Gates – Microsoft
  • Steve Jobs – Apple
  • Michael Dell – Dell
  • Larry Ellison – Oracle
  • Jocelyn Goldfein – Director of engineering at Facebook
  • Marissa Mayer – CEO of Yahoo (photo above)
  • Kimber Lockhart – Director of Engineering, Box
  • Diane Greene – Co-founder of VMWare


Thanks to e-skills for their detailed report 🙂

Useful references to links about women in computing stats and reports: