“Diversity crisis” in the software industry prompts investigation
November 3, 2022
Interview by Emilia Sullivan, adapted by David Liwei Shi
Aotearoa’s software engineering industry is in a “diversity crisis” as more and more women are leaving the industry.
University of Auckland’s Dr Kelly Blincoe, a former Lockheed Martin software engineer, is leading an investigation on how to retain women in the male-dominated industry as part of her $800,000 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship.
The study will follow 200 university graduates through their first five years in the software industry, the period when many women become dissatisfied and exit.
Citing the The Diversity Agenda, Dr Blincoe told The Wire that “women leave the industry at twice the rate as men, with 29% exiting in their first five years.”
Blincoe says a lack of gender diversity can create systems that exclude, neglect, and even endanger women.
“There’s obviously discrimination and biases in the software industry.”
“Many women believe their gender affects their opportunities and career progression.”
However, Blincoe is optimistic that her research will bring about positive changes for women and help create a more inclusive software industry.
The research will look at both women’s experiences and how industry practices could be modified to accommodate a more diverse group of people.
Public interest journalism funded through NZ On Air