International Women's Day: Who is Coding in 2023?

There seems to be a common misconception that coding, and computer programming, is just for IT experts and computer whizzes, but that simply isn’t the case. And you certainly don’t have to be a maths genius either!

Nor do you have to be a man to be good at coding, despite jobs in the technology industry being predominantly held by men in the past. Thousands of women are now becoming specialists in the subject, excelling in it, and carving out amazing careers for themselves.

It’s true that tech is still a male-dominated industry, but things are definitely changing. In fact, history tells us that the first ever coder was a woman called Lady Ada Lovelace, back in the 1840s! And during World War II, it was women who developed the new field of computer programming, encouraged by the government at the time, whilst the men went off to fight on the front lines.

But this wasn’t women’s first ‘go’ at it either; in 1917 the Wrens were formed who, during both world wars, held many roles in technology including that of wireless telegraphists, radar plotters, weapons analysts, electricians and air mechanics, before being amalgamated into the Royal Navy in the 1990s.

Latest figures that came out February 2023, from the Office of National Statistics, show that women now make up 43.9% of staff in the wider technology industry*, a figure that has grown from previous years. Unfortunately, the proportion is far lower for software developers, web designers and data analysts still.

An annual CHILDWISE survey*, commissioned by the Girlguiding organisation, showed that in 2022, 52% of girls aged 11–21 thought STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects were for boys, which is a very disappointing statistic in the current age. To combat that, Brownies announced last year that they would be teaching girls how to code during their weekly sessions, in a bid to inspire more girls to take up STEM subjects and bridge the gender gap.

There are now more and more dedicated clubs, workshops, programmes and even YouTube channels out there committed to getting girls into STEM. So, all the stats we see in 2023 and beyond, should only keep improving.

And lastly, there’s the idea that the older generation just don’t get tech! Whilst it seems we can all agree that children seem to have an innate understanding of technology and the digital world we now live in, anyone who wants to learn how to code can. There are even programmes dedicated to providing women with coding qualifications, such as Code First Girls, which provides free lessons to encourage more young women to take it up. They have become the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK and have delivered more than £60 million worth of free tech education. CFG has taught more than three times as many women how to code as the entire university undergraduate system in Britain; with their mission to reduce the global gender diversity gap fully underway!

We're certainly heading in the right direction. Happy International Women's Day!

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* EMP13: Employment by industry - Office for National Statistics (

* uk-snapshot-gas-2022.pdf (