Bolton School Girls’ Division Newspaper


Why is there a Gender imbalance in Computer Programming?

We live in a digital world with as much of our lives on line at home and in work as in the real world. It has become part of who we are and how we connect to the world around us. You might expect that everyone is being taught in schools and beyond how to create and control this digital world.  It is undoubtedly true that naturally there are many more jobs and opportunities in this field. So why are women so under represented in the  digital world?

Finding an answer to this question seems essential, if women are to be represented and catered for in the online world. Is this another glass ceiling females will need to find a way to smash their way through?

  Programming, or coding, is, according to the dictionary, the process or activity or writing computer programs. Simply put, it is when you, the human, writes a set of instructions to make a computer do a specific action for you. You can do this through a large variety of programming languages, such as Python, Javascript, C++ or, for beginners and young children, Blockly. Programming powers fundamental websites and apps, and even the device you are using to read this article couldn’t be possible without it. Things like social media such as Instagram and video platforms such as YouTube are all built on top of JavaScript for front-end development and database languages such as Python, Go and C++.

Although it may still be  a male-dominated industry, girls are starting to realise that they too can code, with many more inspirational females before them. In fact, the computer itself, or the Analytical Engine, was invented by Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer. So it isn’t a question of capability, knowledge or understanding.


You also use the internet every day.  Have you considered this field as a career? The way we use this amazing World Wide Web is, obviously, through Wi-Fi. Hedy Lamarr was a self-taught inventor and a film actress, and her invention, which she called her “secret communication system”, eventually inspired Wi-Fi, GPS and even Bluetooth, technology in common use today.

Statistically speaking, women only hold 26.7% of jobs in STEM, and large tech firms with more than 10,000 employees report that women representation is at 26.2%. Even the numbers of women working in tech-related jobs are declining! The percentage of women working in programming has actually decreased, rather than increased over the course of the past two years. All this is in 2022, the age of computer science, virtual reality and gender equality awareness!


Now more than ever, the computer science and robotics industries are growing at a large scale. Thousands of career opportunities open up every day. With a healthy work-life balance, interesting work spaces, and a high salary, many more people are learning programming. So it should be an exciting career opportunity for women as well as men. Why are we missing out?

This is a great time for girls to start thinking about a career that is about the future of our world. The digital world needs you! So how can you get started?

You could use the Swift Playgrounds app that is pre-installed on your iPad! There, you can learn simple coding and logic, and with enough experience, even make your own apps!

Guess what? You’re not alone whilst learning to code either! Apple has started an all-female Apple Developer Academy in Saudi Arabia, showing that anyone can learn to code! There’s also a non-profit organisation called “Girls Who Code”, that is dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology and computer science.


Yet another example is Kode with Klossy, founded by Karlie Kloss. They host a free camp where teenage girls learn the basics and fundamentals of more languages such as HTML and CSS, languages used to create websites, and Swift, the programming language created by Apple. There’s almost no reason not to start learning today!


I attend Programming Club weekly, and in my free time like to work on an app I am making, with the App Lab. I hope to soon develop it into a proper app, but for now it is stuck as a web application. That isn’t to say it’s useless – in fact, I check it every morning. You can use the app to check your timetable, the lunches menu for that day, to check the notices and PE timetable, and also a list of your clubs!

Want some inspiration? Here are some quotes by fellow female coders to motivate you now!

“A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things.” 

Grace Hopper, developer of the first compiler, a software that translates programming languages to binary for the computer.

“I was told I’d never make it to VP rank because I was too outspoken. Maybe so, but I think men will always find an excuse for keeping women in their ‘place”. So, let’s make that place the executive suite and start more of our own companies.”

Jean Bart, one of the early editors of computer information publishing and first programmers of the ENIAC.

“Most engineers like to proceed from A to B to C in a series of logical steps. I’m the rare engineer who says the answer is obviously Z and we will get on with that while you guys work out how to do all the intermediate steps. It makes me a dangerous person to employ in IT but a useful one too.”

Sophie Wilson, designer of the Micro-bit and the BBC BASIC programming language.

So what are you waiting for? Changing the gender balance is in our hands. We can make it happen. 


Personally, I think that programming is a skill everyone should learn, regardless of age or gender. Together, with computer science, we can take the next step in building the world that we, and everyone else, wants.

So this Christmas, why don’t you give it a go? It might not be just your world it changes!

By Mariam Atbouli

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