Gender in London's Tech City

About the project

This is a qualitative, sociological study of the gender dynamics of London's Tech City community.

Since the dawn of the internet, technology has been developed and pioneered by male leaders. Today, technology is reported as the 'most equal' industry, though it is well known that key communities such as Silicon Valley continue to have a diversity problem.

Every day, the prevalence of technology in our lives only increases, and to the extent that the provenance of these technologies is key hubs such as London's Tech City, New York's Silicon Alley and California's Silicon Valley, we feel it is essential to collect data on the culture and experiences of the human beings involved in these communities/areas.

In this ongoing study, we are looking to understand as thoroughly as possible the way the women and men creating these technologies interact, and to explore the way larger patterns of gender and in some cases, inequality, might be reproduced, and ask what it means and what improvements can be made.

Like its neighbourhood, this study is not gender neutral. It is an investigation into the experience of women, both as users of the social and networking events that form part of the life of Tech City, and also their experiences as entrepreneurs and business leaders across the wider tech community. Eventually we will also study Silicon Valley and New York's 'Silicon Alley'.

For more, see our impact & aims.

Team

Principle Investigator (PI) Dr. Mariann Hardey is Joint-Director for the Institute for Advanced Research in Computing (iARC) at the University of Durham. She is Lecturer in digital communications, business and technologies at Durham University Business School. She writes regularly on themes of gender, technology and social media. And she likes teal. A lot. Find her on Twitter at: @thatdrmaz.

Aims & Impact

This project has received Seedcorn funding from Durham University Business School, the University of Durham. 

It is anticipated that the findings will have impact on the digital research community in the UK, Europe and worldwide. There is relevancy for academic groups that include social scientists (as one would expect), as well as colleagues from the humanities, the sciences, and those whose research examines the internet, business development, and equality.

During the data collection, expected outputs include press media, as well as contribution to conferences and speaking events. Following data analysis, the research will be written up into academic papers and the initial report, which will be presented in 2015.  

As for longer-term impact, it is impossible to make precise claims about exactly what influence our improved understanding of the participation of women in Tech City will have. However, ultimately we hope to bring the findings back to Tech City itself, to ensure at the very least that they can form part of a healthy gender balance and equality of opportunity, including improved awareness and discussion.

It is our intention that this research anticipates the importance of digital for the economy in a way that that moves beyond the hype, to focus on the genuine integration and support of women and men working in the tech industry and with technologies. 

Sources

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Dray, S., Peer, A., Brock, A., Peters, A., Bardzell, S., Burnett, M., Churchill, E., Poole, E. and Busse, D. (2013). Exploring the representation of women perspectives in technologies. CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, [online] pp.2447-2454. Available at: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2468799 [Accessed 20 Jul. 2014].

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Participate

This study is oriented around people.

If you're a person, especially if you self-identify as a female person, and you work or would like to work in Tech City, we want to hear from you.

Our study is inclusive, and qualitative. That means we want to hear from as many people as possible, as long as you have relevant views and experiences.

Please do write to us at research@gitc.io, or find us on Twitter at @_gitc.

Our thanks - the Gender in Tech City team