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Perth Web Girls: Blurring Boundaries and Beating the Gender Bias

Coincidently but appropriately following the successes of International Women’s Day, Spacecubed, hosted the half-yearly organised event, Perth Web Girls.

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February 22, 2018

Perth Web Girls

The movement, co-organised by International programmers Django Girls, Spacecubed, Fenders Perth and Marcus Holmes of Startup News, saw over 150 applicants and over 90 attendees on Saturday (12th March 2016). 

Django Girls, the internationally recognised not-for-profit aims to make technology more approachable by creating simpler tools and resources designed with empathy. The organisation sets out to empower women in the organising of free one-day courses and deliver technology and understanding how to make it, as an approachable and easily digestable course product. 

"Saturday's Perth Web Girls event was a huge success", Kate Kirwin, co-organiser and Events Coordinator at Spacecubed explained. "This was the first time we'd seen such a large amount of applicants, and we could only logistically accept just over 90 attendees... it was great to see such a high level of interest in a movement which is creating an equal working environment". 

Sponsored by Bankwest, the Python Software Foundation, ThoughtWorks, the Fogarty Foundation, the Codemaster Institute and international group, Django Girls; the popularity of the event lays testament to a movement aimed at quelling the gender bias and blurring the existing male dominated boundaries in the technology space in Perth.

 “The high number of applicants and attendees show there’s a great demand for the inclusion of more women in the tech industry, not just in Perth but the world over…” Amber Brown, another event organiser expressed. 

The Truth is in the Stats

In October 2015, Microsoft reported 29.1% of its company workforce was comprised of women, however when digging a little deeper, only 16.6% of its female workforce are employed in technical positions. 23% of the whole female workforce hold leadership roles - judging on these statistics, the tech giant seems to be a rather gender biased workplace. And it doesn't stop there, Google and Twitter reported that just 17% and 10% of their respective workforces are females in technical positions - the disproportion of males and females is astronomical - making gender equality one of the largest work related issues of our time. 

With fewer women influencing product development and business strategy, comes greater issues in tackling issues many of the giant tech companies face in business today. Research has shown that business approaching complex problems from creative and differing angles, including a higher proportion of women in their ranks, have higher sales, more customers and a larger market share than their rivals lacking in diversity.

While it's easy to be disillusioned by the published figures by giant tech companies, a greater analysis of the stats show the true nature of the work environment in the twenty first century. CNET report that on average, between companies including Cisco, Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter and Microsoft, a mere 15.6% of their respective workforces are comprised of females.

Saturday's Perth Web Girls event set a personal best in terms of attendees, and it's safe to say that the tech industry is crying out for similar initiatives. Setting an example to the tech community as a whole, and not just breaking down gender boundaries in Perth, Perth Web Girls is now in high demand, having already set a date for their next programming course 6 months from now.

Appearing to align itself with the outcomes from recent research, innovative spaces, diverse workforces and equal environments breed success; and no example is as clear in the Perth tech scene as Saturday's Perth Web Girls course.

By Matt Kirk