Code is the language we use to make computers carry out an action. It is a list of precise instructions. Code helped design this page, the internet, and the way your device does things. In this era of progression, especially in the fields of science and technology, it may be no surprise that more people are getting involved with coding. They are becoming creators and designers and shaping the future using technology.
While advancement is taking place in the realm of technology, there is one aspect of the field that is not progressing. That area is gender equality. Thousands of men and women join the occupation of becoming software programmers, developers, and coders, but there is a problem with the ratio of men to women joining. According to Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 73% of coders are men. Only 27% of coders are women.
With men dominating almost three-quarters of the field of code, questions arise as to why this is happening and more importantly, how the ratio can be equal. Many people have suggested teaching more women how to code. They hope creating female-friendly coding workshops and environments will encourage more women to enter the workforce. They think teaching women to code will unlock their potentials and they can excel in a male-dominated field. While encouraging and teaching women to code, empowering women, and exposing women to the world of technology may seem like the solution to the gender differences in the world of coding, it is not. Just teaching women how to code will not help solve anything. Instead, it will create new problems.
In coding, there are two sectors- front-end and back-end. Front-end coders design whatever is seen on a web browser; it is the basic, outward part. Back-end coder work with more complex problems. They do the actual programming and handle all the intricate parts of coding. . Generally, men are the ones who work as back-end coders. Women are assigned to being front-end coders. This is not true in all cases. Some men can be front-end coders; other women can take on back-end coding jobs. Usually, though, this does not happen. There are sectors in the coding regime, and the employees get assigned to their spots by gender.
No matter how much coding the women learned before stepping into the workforce or how much potential they have, they will be discriminated against and assigned to their positions based on their genders. Most women will be front-end coders. They will be working in the coding field, but confined to one spot. Instead of the coding sector becoming more open to everyone working together, it is separating people by gender. More women are entering after they learn how to code, but it is not helping. When these women join coding, that section becomes less prominent because women can be hired with less payment. The whole subsection of that particular coding field becomes less important due to women being there. Women are held to lower standards, receive lower wages, and are generalized as front-end coders. People refuse to believe there is more a woman can do, that she can be a back-end coder or accomplish more than what is expected of her.
Only teaching women how to code or encouraging them to explore opportunities that relate to computer science and technology will not be beneficial. It will only push more women into a market that discriminates and values them according to their gender. The problem is not with any woman lacking in skills or being uninterested in the topic of coding. The problem is what happens after that when they want to apply their talents and potential into the workforce. Once people recognize the actual problem, steps should be taken to remove the gender barriers. Change of mentality is needed, so the women can thrive in coding fields and display their talents. Since coding is such an advancement and is helping shape the future, the people behind it, no matter what gender they are, should be respected and allowed to unlock their abilities.
Rachel Lipton is a student at William Carey Academy. Her passions include reading, writing, and RnB (Rhythm and Blues) music. She hopes that through her writing, she can help the world become a better and more equitable place.