It’s a regrettable but undeniable fact that the digital technology industry as it stands today has a gender gap issue. By current statistics there are roughly six men employed for every woman in the industry, and this has remained largely so for the past decade.
MadLab is an outward-looking organisation. We work hard to create an inclusive environment which operates outside of the traditional “white, male, with an engineering” makerspace demographic boundaries. Whilst we still have a way to go, as of early 2015 approximately 30% of MadLab’s visitors are women. One of the ways in which we are doing this is by actively creating more opportunity for women in technology, through the Digital Skills for Women scheme – offering training and support to out-of-work women in cornerstone digital technology skills – and other events such as Curry & Coding – a monthly informal lunchtime session at Longsight Library attended by a diverse cohort including several women from a local refugees association.
The training has had a transformative effect, with many now back in work.
It came at a time when I was really low – single mum living with my parents, no job etc. – and not only was it a really smart course, but the people on it were smart as well… and then the very next day I managed to get my ideal teaching job, at a brilliant school just round the corner from where I live… I’m sure my confidence boost from the course and the way I could chat about it helped.
Funded by the WEA and in conjunction with Manchester Girl Geeks and Manchester Libraries, Digital Skills for Women was extended in 2015 to cover the Greater Manchester region. The scheme has attracted a diverse audience: retirees looking for part-time work, women looking to start their own businesses, recent immigrants, young mothers, jobseekers and those on Employment and Support Allowance.
[DWAN] Digital Women’s Archive North (2016)
Delivering a programme of community-based projects and research relating to gender (culture, heritage, spaces, equality, social participation, wellbeing).
Digital Skills for Women in Greater Manchester (2015)
Bigger and better – 4 libraries across Greater Manchester, 16 courses, 20 amazing tutors and volunteers, 130 women learning new skills, in conjunction with Manchester Girl Geeks.
Curry & Coding (2014)
A monthly lunchtime taster session at Longsight Library, involving two of our favourite things.
Digital Skills for Women (2013)
Training in essential digital technology skills (HTML & CSS, WordPress, Beginners Programming) for out-of-work women.