In 2013, filmmaker Robin Hauser Reynolds’ daughter called home from college to explain that she wanted to drop her computer science major. According to Ms Hauser Reynolds, “her confidence was shaken by being one of just two women in a class of 25, and by not having the resources to support her.”
This phone call came in the midst of a flurry of media coverage of the importance of computer science knowledge for future employability and for the wider economy.
Inspired by this paradox – that there was a demand for diverse, skilled computer science workers but the industry seemingly discouraged or failed to support women – Ms Hauser Reynolds and producer Staci Hartman set out to create a film that explores the reasons behind the gender gap and the digital divide.
“For the most part, Silicon Valley availed itself to our inquisition, and with each interview – whether at Yelp, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Strava, Pandora, GitHub or Pivotal – we learned that the underlying currents which dissuaded women and people of colour from pursuing coding jobs and resulted in the dearth of minorities in tech, were systemic, pervasive, and complex. Mindsets,stereotypes, clogs in the educational pipeline, startup culture, lack of role models and sexism all play important roles in this mounting gender, ethnicity and economic issue.
Women in Technology at AusRegistry
AusRegistry’s newly-established Women in Technology working group (AU WIT) hosted a screening of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap for AusRegistry staff to provide a platform for discussion and sharing of experiences in this area.
The film gave an interesting and engaging perspective of the history of women’s contribution to computer science, as well as some of the modern-day social and cultural factors contributing to the decline in female representation in the industry.
At the screening, the AU WIT also announced its plans for activities in 2017, which have been outlined in more detail in Behind the Dot magazine.
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