Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook: ‘No Good Excuse’ for Lack of Women in Tech
I read an interesting article today from the BBC about how Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a recent interview that there are still “not enough women at the table in the world’s tech firms’ – including his own.
The article, which was written by Zoe Kleinman on the BBC website following her interview with the Apple boss who said that technology “will not achieve nearly what it could achieve” without a more diverse workforce.
What are your thoughts, do you agree?
Tim also said that while their business has made progress on diversity that there were “no good excuses” for the tech sector not to employ more women.
The firm was under the spotlight following the launch of the Apple Health App in 2014 – which left out some female-specific tracking functionality in the app – which may, or may not have been due to a male bias among its developers.
In 2021 the number of female members across Apple’s global staff was at 35%.
Tim also mentioned in the interview that there may be a shortage of women taking computer sciences but he can’t hire enough and that the world must fundamentally change the number of people taking computer science and engineering.
I really don’t know why the ratio of women to men is not more balanced in this field, given that roles in this industry do not require physical strength (although I recognise that women can perform roles which require this perfectly well too!), working outside, working at heights, in dirty conditions or out at sea, irregular hours or even working underground – there really is no particular reason for it that I can put my finger on.
This article got us thinking about what the ratio of women to men looked like within the KFA team.
Which you might be interested to know is currently made up of 40% of women.
I asked a couple of the younger members of the KFA team (who have been through the GCSE/A Level/College experience much more recently than I have) what the ratio of girls to boys there was in their respective Computer Science courses. One A-Level course seemed to have 40% girls (but in a very small class), whereas a GCSE course was less than 10% girls in a full class.
It makes me wonder if there is something wrong with the way that careers in the IT industry are presenting themselves to school-age children.
The same conversation sadly gave me the impression that many kids at school who took Computer Sciences were seen as “Geeky” and were often bullied and unpopular – this made me feel saddened as they are no doubt often the brightest and most intelligent individuals – and should be celebrated.
So what more can be done to encourage girls (and boys) to see a future for themselves in computer science and programming?
The KFA Connect team have in the past taken part in ‘The Big Bang @ Dorset’ – (STEM-themed event exhibitions) at The Tank Museum in Bovington and found the children who attended as groups from local schools who visited our stands (in very large and loud groups!) to be very engaged with the topics and in particular the gadgets that were on display. We have seen first-hand how events like these are really great at inspiring future generations to pursue careers in STEM subjects.
Tim Cook said in that same interview, that “everybody should be required to take some sort of coding course by the time they finish school, in order to have a ‘working knowledge’ of how coding works and how apps are created”. So I’m going to make a point of asking my teenage kids and all my friend’s school-age children to see if this is actually happening in the UK at all schools, but I suspect that this is more likely to be the case here as it is in other countries across the world.
Businesses can’t cop out and say “there’s not enough women taking computer science – therefore I can’t hire enough”, said Mr Cook.
But why then do there seem to be fewer girls interested in this career path than boys? Could it be that boys from a young age are stereotypically more likely to be interested in gaming than girls, which might form a greater interest in how they are programmed? Or, is there a stigma attached to being into Computer Science at GCSE and A-Level age leading those who might want to do it to simply choose a different path?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions – but I do find it fascinating why a larger percentage of girls are not more interested, and the reasons why.
The article also tells of four female app founders/creators which you can read about in the full article by clicking on the link below.
Nicki Smith – KFA Sales Manager