More Than a Day: How Does Tarides Promote Women in Tech?by Gemma Gordon on Mar 8th, 2023
The aim of International Women’s Day is to raise awareness of gender inequalities and call for the empowerment of women worldwide. The goal is to forge a gender equal world and advance women’s equality in all forms.
Within the field of technology, the focus is on elevating and advancing gender parity in technology and celebrating the women shaping innovation.
While there have been advancements towards these goals, continuous attention and effort is required to create lasting change.
One of our goals is to foster diversity and inclusion in tech and help provide more opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women. As a company, we partner with and support several organisations that promote diversity in the field of computer science. Some of them include:
- 50 in Tech is working to achieve a gender balance of 50% women in tech by 2050. Their Gender Score Board helps companies across Europe measure their level of gender inclusion. They selected Tarides as an inclusive company and featured us on their website. For more information on our work with 50 in Tech, we have a blog post from 2022.
- The Ada Tech School, named after the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, is a programming school designed for women but open to all. They are driven by three values: feminism, empathy, and singularity. We have a blog post on our partnership with them from 2021.
- GirlsCanCode is an initiative launched by the organisation Prologin that hosts summer camps specially aimed at teaching young women about computer programming, free of charge. We have a blog post about why we sponsor GirlsCanCode from 2022.
- The Recurse Center is an initiative that offers educational retreats for anyone who wants to get better at programming. They also provide needs-based grants to traditionally underrepresented groups to make programming more accessible for all. We're happy to have hired many talented engineers from the Recurse Center over the years!
- Outreachy is an internship program that provides paid remote internships in open source and open science. Outreachy’s goal is to increase diversity in open source and expressly invites anyone who faces underrepresentation or systemic bias in the technology industry of their country to apply. We sponsor and mentor interns in each biannual intake, and you can watch project presentations here (December 2021, May 2022, December 2022); read a community post about how to get involved as a mentor; and read a blog post from one of our Summer 2022 interns about her project.
- The Oxbridge Women in Computer Science Conference is an annual one-day event hosted by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (UK). The purpose of the conference is to spotlight the successes of women within computer science and strengthen the network of women in computer science within a supportive environment. The conference is free and open to all genders. We have a blog post from 2020 on our sponsorship of the conference.
As a company we aim to provide a flexible and supportive working environment that encourages women to enter and remain in the workforce. Our aim is to make working at Tarides as inclusive as possible.
Examples of our policies include:
- Childcare support as an employee perk
- Flexible hours and working
- Equal pay scales based on experience and skills
- Apprenticeships and internships to kickstart careers, or to enable later-stage career changes
- Career progression development in technical and managerial roles
There is still much room for improvement, and we continue to be committed to removing barriers for women: at Tarides, in open source, and in computer science.
Currently at Tarides, 24% of our workforce is female, with 15% in technical roles. Over the last 12 months, Tarides has grown from 55 to 83 people, with 27% of those hired being women. Despite this increase, we are still below our ambitious goal of reaching 30% of women in tech roles. This highlights the disappointing reality that for each position we want to hire for, there are still proportionally fewer women applying and reaching the later stages of recruitment in our field.
In tech, we can address the issues from a number of angles, all of which will improve the overall picture. Collectively, we still need to encourage girls into STEM areas at an early age, in order to gradually increase the numbers of women in tech overall, but also to increase the size of the potential hiring pool of female applicants. Having female role models is essential, and we must continue to increase the representation of women in technology and STEM fields to encourage girls, and women, to see themselves in these kinds of roles. We must also continue to support lifelong learning by funding and creating training opportunities and resources for later-stage career changes.
At Tarides, we have specifically noticed a skills and training gap between entry-level internships (e.g., Outreachy) and the next level of progression into junior software engineer. We are getting better at helping women make their first steps into the tech world, but where do they go next? This year, we are focussing on how we can specifically improve this by preparing more resources to help learn functional programming, OCaml, and open-source methods, and by understanding the different levels of training and education needed in order to progress beyond these initial stages.
Finally, gender equality is not just a topic we should consider on March 8th every year. We must ensure that equality is in everyone’s consciousness and that it forms the basis of our conversations and decisions.
“We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics. Everything is physics and math.” - Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician