National Coding Week, a yearly event that serves as a timely reminder for the digital industries to help boost diversity, equality, and entrepreneurship within the STEM work place. While this event may only happen once a year, it functions as a beacon of light in the gender gap awareness process of STEM industries.Coding has a well-established history in the UK, originating from the 1800’s when the world’s first computer programmer created a piece of software, changing the way we all function today. It may come as a surprise, therefore, that the UK National Coding Week is only in its fourth year of celebration, especially with the advancements in technology and more specifically coding that have occurred over the past decade.
Why then are STEM industries so male-centric? Since the creation of technology, there has been a gender stereotype within science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies, meaning that as a generalisation, girls are deterred away from these subjects from an early age. Overthrowing these gender stereotypes and societal expectations is critical to the advancement in numbers of girls perusing a career in the STEM field.
Studies have shown that only 9.8% of girls are taking technology as an A-Level. However, while this seems very low research has confirmed that there has been a 34% rise in the number of female students sitting the JCQ computer science exam, up from 609 in 2016 to 816 in 2017. This increase highlights the progress that is being made, while at the same time confirming the large amount of work that still needs to be done.
With National Coding Week serving as a reminder to the unequal nature of STEM industries, as B2B tech marketers we should not limit our celebration of coding and STEM subjects to this week, rather we should take the time to equip the next generation of talent and employees with the skills they will need to thrive in a digitalised world.