With all the talk about women in technology over the past few years, you would be forgiven for thinking that there are more women pursuing coding and technology than ever before. But according to recent data for the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) this is far from the truth! Women hold only about 26% of software engineering and computer science roles in the USA; a number that has barely changed since 2003. The situation in other nations such as Australia and the UK is similar.
The problem is something Sydney based producer,Dan Draper hopes to change with his forthcoming film, Debugging Diversity. A 20 year veteran of the technology industry himself, Draper has worked across the USA and Australia but started researching gender diversity in tech in 2014.
After recording a series of interviews with experts based in Sydney, New York and San Francisco, Draper teamed up with film production house, Endframe to polish the concept. Now they are launching a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo so that they can complete the project.
"Coding really is a superpower," said Draper. "But it should be something everyone has an opportunity to learn."
He said that while coding is now on the curriculum in most states, there are simply not enough teachers trained to run coding classes. Typically only wealthier schools can afford to run computer science programs as a result.
But it isn't just attracting women to the industry that is challenging, keeping them is also. According to the Harvard Business Review, 41% of women will leave computing compared to only 17% of men. And the reasons they leave are very different. The research found that women leave because they’re treated unfairly; underpaid, less likely to be fast-tracked than their male colleagues, and unable to advance.
"Debugging Diversity will focus more on the solutions than on the problem itself," said Draper. "It explores the work of people and organisations doing some exciting things for women in tech."
When asked why a straight, white male was producing a film about diversity, Draper said that addressing under-representation in tech requires many different groups to come together.
"I've decided to use my privilege to help others," he added.
The Debugging Diversity Indiegogo campaign runs until August 3rd and is accepting contributions from individuals and organisations who want to support the cause. ##
Debugging Diversity is a feature-length documentary by Dan Draper and Endframe due for release in 2020. The film explores gender diversity in the technology industry. With only 26% of software engineering and computer science roles held by women, many people and organisations are working to attract more women to the field. Debugging Diversity is their story.