Gender diversity in UK tech industry ‘still terrible’, says Martha Lane Fox – The Guardian co-founder, now a peer, says little progress has been made in latest a long time
The businesswoman and peer Martha Lane Fox has criticised the dearth of gender variety within the UK expertise trade, saying it has not progressed in 25 years.
Woman Lane-Fox of Soho shot to prominence within the late Nineties because the co-founder of, a journey reserving web site that turned one of many symbols of the UK’s Nineties web increase. Nevertheless, she mentioned most of the similar points she had skilled then are nonetheless prevalent within the tech trade.
“I by no means imagined that now in 2022, among the dynamics of the trade that I used to be having fun with constructing my enterprise in would nonetheless be so horrible,” she mentioned, in a speech at an occasion held by WorkL, an organization that works with companies to trace worker welfare.
Lane Fox, who described herself as a “dot-com dinosaur”, has served within the Home of Lords as a crossbencher since turning into the youngest feminine peer in 2013. She mentioned the trade nonetheless had issues with hiring sufficient ladies, in addition to individuals from totally different class and racial backgrounds.
She pointed to the instance of Dame Stephanie Shirley, an entrepreneur who began a software program firm that employed programmers who have been virtually completely ladies. They labored on code for makes use of starting from the Concorde jet to UK army submarines. Shirley signed her identify as “Steve” on letters pitching for enterprise so as to keep away from being rejected on the idea of misogyny.
“These days, we’d be completely astonished if we had seen so many ladies engaged in these areas of expertise,” Lane Fox mentioned. “They’re not related proper now, these deep tech areas of expertise, with such a gender steadiness.”
The expertise trade has lengthy failed to rent sufficient ladies, and misogyny remains to be endemic in on-line tradition. Solely 21% of IT professionals and 12.5% of engineers have been ladies, in contrast with greater than half the inhabitants, in a survey for the Sensible marketing campaign, which pushes to extend the variety of ladies in science and expertise roles.
Racial variety within the UK expertise trade higher displays the broader inhabitants, based on knowledge from foyer group Tech Nation, however separate knowledge from the recruitment company Inclusive Boards in 2018 discovered the proportion of individuals of color in senior tech management roles lagged behind the broader inhabitants.
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Lane Fox mentioned the coronavirus pandemic has introduced some welcome modifications to the usage of expertise. She mentioned that if somebody had instructed her prematurely of the tempo of the Home of Lords’s change to on-line conferences throughout lockdowns, “I’d actually have thought you have been smoking an infinite spliff.”