Friday, August 13, 2010

Women in Software

Women in IT or Software:

The Observation is that the number of women in Software or IT who attended QCon 2010 London was very small, around 2 or 3 % of the attendants were women. This is nothing compared to the number of women attending agile 2010. The percentage of women attending Agile 2010 maybe somewhere around 40%. (these numbers are based on my observations and they don't reflect actual statistics).

QCon focus more on technical aspects of software development while Agile 200X harnesses more diverse topics related to enhancing the software development life cycle in general with somehow equally distributed sessions and workshops for technical and non-technical subjects.

My interpretation is that women in software are more into business, quality, team facilitation, and management rather than programming and operation. And this could explain the huge difference in numbers of women attending two events like QCon 2010 London and Agile 2010.

Please post your explanations to this observation.


wendy said...

Although still nowhere near your estimated 40% at Agile 2010, female attendees at our technical courses average at around 10%...

An exciting initiative by Apps 4 Good is to launch a programme to get girls into programming in the Central Foundation Girl School in Tower Hamlets, London UK.

Their meetup group is here:

I think initiatives like (early encouragement and exposure to programming and the great creativity required to be a good programmer) will really improve the number of woman involved in (the technical side) of IT!

C-Rella said...

I agree with Wendy; the number of women in attendance at Agile 2010 is more like 25%-30% or less, nowhere near 40%. If you think of every instance where you saw people (say, sitting on a couch), you would see 2-3 men and possibly 1 woman.

They are doing a good job trying to promote women at the conference by having some women-focused ("women in Agile") feeds, information, recruiting, etc.

Declan Whelan said...

From discussions I've had with women, I also heard that an agile focus on team success and collaboration rather than individual competence resonates very strongly.

As an FYI, 50% of the Agile Alliance board members have traditionally been women!

mouneer said...

I think women's affinity towards certain roles in IT/Tech/Software that are not so close the technical is noticed; although it would help if we can get more concrete statistics.
This would help guiding initiatives towards promoting more female involvement into the technical aspects, encourage female contribution towards non-technical aspects, or a certain mix of both.