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Female website developers

How the world of web development is opening up to be more inclusive

This article is about what it is like being a female website developer or coder. In this article, it will present the ideas on what females faced when being a website developer in the 20th century and how things have changed and developed for the better. Also, this article will explore the idea of how being a website developer was viewed stereotypically as a man-dominated job and a female could not work in the industries.

What were some of the problems women faced as a website developer in the past?

In the past, women were not allowed to work as it was viewed that work and jobs were a man’s duty and not a women. Also, women could not get into education as much back then so they were not fully educated. However, after 1920 a law was passed which give women their rights to an education and to be able to work within industries. Even though women had a freedom of working jobs, they were still being treated unfairly. Men had a higher pay than women and women were paid the lowest wage. There was a clear seen gap between how much men were paid and how much women were being paid in jobs. It was not until 1970 a law was passed called the Equal Pay Act which prevents discrimination in work industries and men and women get paid equally. With women now being able to work there were still some jobs that women still were not accepted in, one of them was computing-related jobs like website development.

Website development broadly refers to the tasks associated with developing websites for hosting via the internet which the process includes website design, website content development, client-side/server-side scripting and network security configuration, among other tasks. In website development, there are two sides a person can work on, the front-end or the back-end. Front-end developers are the people who design and implement what you see in your web browser which can be done by coding languages like HTML and Javascript. Back-end developers build and maintains the technology that powers those components which, together, enable the user-facing side of the website to even exist in the first place and the back end of a website consists of a server, an application, and a database. The first ever website was created in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee.

The problems women faced was that there were not many women in job placements. In 2011, only 17% of job placements were women. Website development was seen as male-dominated so not many women were accepted into jobs for website development and did not graduate on many computing courses in universities. From 1971 to 1983, women who declared an intention to major in computing science jumped eightfold, to 4 per cent from about 0.5 per cent.

What have been the changes for women as a website developer?

There have been a few changes for women being a website developer over the years until modern day. Here is a few examples of changes and developments made:

> Firstly, as technology is expanding more and developing, now the main feature in life, it means more computing-based jobs are available. This meant that women could get jobs like being a website developer and treated more equal to men.

> Throughout the years, women are being paid more and more equal to the number of men are being paid for being a website developer. This means more women will be keen to join the website development industry and to feel comfortable in their work placement and not feel like they are outsiders.

> General stereotype views have been discarded through the years as society has matured more. With the development of technology and years passing society have accepted that computer-related jobs, like website development, is not a man-dominated job and is a job for everyone who wants to do the specific side of the industry.

> More universities and colleges are offering a more wider range of computing courses so women can get the qualifications and skills to become a website developer.

> There has been more encouragement by companies and schools for more women to take jobs like website development as women are skilful coders if they had a passion for it but most do not feel confident enough professionally to be a website programmer as most underestimate their skills and feel like imposters and do not apply for positions unless they are sure they are a hundred percent qualified for the position.

These are the major changes that have impacted on the number of women and more women within the website industry.

However…

Even though these changes have been made there is still a few problems faced in the modern day.

Even though there is a large range of computing science courses within universities and colleges and with some being asked to introduce them, like Canterbury college, not enough women are pursuing computer science degrees. Women currently only make up about 18% of college students who graduate with a computing science degree because some women are still reluctant to take the courses and work in the computing aspects. There have been clear examples where within colleges classes for computing science has had only about one or two girls and the rest boys.

Some website companies still consider women as front-end developers and not back-end developers. This is clear discrimination and examples have been seen when women have applied for the job and the company has asked them ‘So you are applying for front-end development’ without them saying which they prefer to do and sometimes reject them doing back-end development.

What could be done to make sure more women join the website development industry?

One thing that can be done is to encourage young female students from schools to learn how to code and then in the future to take computing science courses to then do jobs like website development. However, it might not always work as it might not influence or interest the young women within a school.

Volunteer at local schools and teach kids about coding so they can experience what it is like and to make them discover if they have an interest or skill in coding. Young women are not going to find an interest in the subject if they do not experience and learn the basics of what the results can produce. As a young person they are on the stage of discovering their passions and what they will want for their future which they can shape at a young age and by volunteering at schools it can help impact their future in a positive way.

Another way is to start your own website developing business and hire more women who are searching for a chance or an opportunity to learn to be a website developer. This can even be by accepting young people, who are going into six form or college, for work experience or even apprenticeships.

You can support organisations who support and get women interested in coding by donations of time or money so that women can learn more about coding aspects and get the knowledge and qualifications they need to become a website designer.

If owning a website development business, allow anyone to do back-end development, women should have their own choice of what they want to do and not be restricted by others because of discrimination. This is because some women might prefer to do back-end development and not do front-end development so if they get rejected for not doing so this can make women become discouraged on being a developer.

These are just some examples of how you or companies can encourage more women to join the computing industries and to get more women interested into coding.

Conclusion / Overall Statement

There are so many more opportunity’s for women within the work industry now than previously. So do not be afraid to give it a try and to learn and develop as a coder and do not be afraid to stand up to challenges you might face in the future or now. To also make sure you are confident in your skills and never underestimate on what you can achieve as a person and as a developer.

This article was written by Folkestone School for Girls student Ashleigh Dickenson, whilst on a work placement with Flourish. Flourish is committed to supporting gender equality in the tech and design industries.

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