CodeWomen emerged during the summer of 2020 with the aim of being a support for women interested in accessing jobs in tech. According to the Generalitat’s Barometer of Technology in Catalonia 2021, only 6% of the ICT positions in Catalan companies are occupied by women. Despite these figures, CodeWomen has been growing more and more to the extent that we now face a small practical problem: we need bigger spaces to carry out our coding and networking sessions! If you are a company and want to promote female talent in tech, this article is of your interest.
One of the most important projects of MigraCode is CodeWomen, an initiative that started in July 2020. In such a difficult moment as in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, CodeWomen emerged with one purpose: to support female students during their MigraCode bootcamp in order to work towards their successful graduation and access decent jobs in tech. From the very beginning, we knew this was a very ambitious goal, as the tech sector is the scene of marked gender inequality.
The reality in both Europe and Spain is that there is a worrying shortage of female talent among tech companies. According to the Generalitat’s Barometer of Technology in Catalonia 2021, only 6% of the ICT positions in Catalan companies are occupied by women. In 2020, the percentage was 8.60%. Thus, far from improving but the opposite, these figures show how significant is the gender gap in the tech sector.
However, despite this worrying situation, we are not discouraged but focused on our main goal more than ever. Not only we have built a beautiful community but also contributed to reducing the gender gap in the tech sector, since some of our women are currently working as web developers, such as the inspiring story of Anandamaya shows.
Thus, looking back, we realize how CodeWomen has progressed in less than two years. In the beginning, we were 10 women that used to meet once a month to talk about coding. Today, we hold coding and networking sessions twice a month, and our CodeWomen volunteers have doubled in number. And, what is more important: we now have between 25 and 30 women participating in every session. Our problem now is a small practical issue: we need bigger spaces to carry out our coding and networking sessions!
For Henriette Hettinga, Founder and Project Manager of CodeWomen, hosting CW sessions is highly beneficial for companies, as it is “an easy way for a tech company to get in touch with a lot of female talent and many of our participants are interested in a new job or want to change jobs”. As Henriette explains, “when a company hosts a CodeWomen event, they get the chance to pitch their company to this group of women. Their female staff can join the event as volunteers, to see if they would like to be a coach at CodeWomen events. This contributes to the image of the company as socially responsible, with a positive working environment for women.”
On their side, companies like CodeOpe, All Women Tech, or FREE NOW are already hosting our coding and networking sessions. When being asked about the reason why they decided to support CodeWomen, all of them mention the same word: opportunity.
According to a CodeOp representative, the company decided to host the CodeWomen initiative “in order to bring together like-minded communities to provide Women+ with the safe space, training, and resources needed to encourage, support, and equip them with the skills they need to thrive in the tech industry.”
On the other hand, a representative from All Women Tech explains that “along with us sharing the same mission and values, we’re so excited to be working together to provide more women the time, space, and possibility to explore their options and grow within a safe environment.”
Finally, Isabelle O’Keeffe, from FREE NOW considers that the CodeWomen events “provide a valuable link between a company and potential talent, creating a symbiosis for Employment. We are not only committed to being an equal opportunity employer but also fostering diversity and inclusion in society by improving our product offering.”
In sum, hosting the CodeWomen coding and networking events is more than sharing your space with a group of women for solidarity. It is as well investing in the future. More initiatives like CodeWomen are highly needed in the tech sector since not counting with the participation of women developers is literally losing half of the talent available in the market. Moreover, the CodeWomen project has very unique features: it’s volunteer-led, it follows a community approach, and it’s made ‘for women, by women’.