Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (pictured) has said the government should listen to calls for change from Martha Lane Fox, after the Labour leadership contender backed the Lastminute.com founder’s plans for more women in technology.
Cooper said the government should do more to get more female web designers, coders and technology investors into public and private sector jobs.
“So many of our future jobs will be digital, so much of our lives already depends on new technology, yet women aren’t at the heart of it,” she said. “People are looking for the next Steve Jobs, but where’s the Stephanie Jobs?”
“It’s crazy that 98% of the code the internet uses continues to be programmed by men. Women cannot and should not be locked out of the jobs of the future and the digital economy we should be embracing,” she added.
Former government policy adviser Lane Fox has previously campaigned for more women in IT. In April, she said women should be at the “heart of the technology sector” during a Richard Dimbleby Lecture.
Lane Fox used the lecture to air her idea of creating a national institution called Dot Everyone to make Britain “the most digital nation on the planet”, and urged the nation to sign an online petition demanding the prime minister gets started on building the institution.
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Lane Fox said Dot Everyone aims to educate on how the internet works, but it also plans to put women at the forefront of the movement, because she is concerned none of the big internet businesses relied on by the public were founded or are run by a woman.
According to Lane Fox, fewer than 10% of investors in the technology sector are female, meaning some of the biggest internet companies used every day do not reflect the diversity of their users.
Recent O2 research found over half (59%) of women working in IT believe there are not enough women in senior roles within their company, compared with 45% of women across all industry sectors.
Furthermore, 24% of women said they believe it is impossible for a woman to reach senior management positions, compared with 17% across all industries.
Of the women surveyed, 63% said they believe all the decision-makers in their company are male, compared with 48% across all sectors.