Women ‘not part of story’ in UK tech, says coding chief executive

Amali De Alwis collected an MBE from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for services to women in technology.

Women are currently “not part of the story” in UK tech, according to the chief executive of a coding academy.

Amali De Alwis, the head of Code First: Girls, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided free coding training to more than 6,000 women across the UK, said a lack of female representation is a “sad reality” in the technology sector.

She said: “There’s no such thing as a non-tech business these days; we carry around super computers in our pockets.

“But the sad reality is we do not have a lot of women.

“We are thinking about how do we stay competitive? How do we build companies and amazing things that add to society? And women are not part of that story. We want to support women to get out there and get involved.”

Ms De Alwis, 38, was speaking after she collected an MBE for services to women in technology from the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

She said increasing workforce diversity will help companies create products that better appeal to their customers.

The Birmingham University graduate added: “The narrative around why we need greater diversity in our workforce – surely the products that are made for everyone, should be built by everyone?

“Companies spend millions of pounds each year trying to understand their customers, trying to create products and services which align with how people need things, and one of the best ways to do that is have a diverse range of people involved in the creation of those products.

“Making a change is hard. It will take time, and it will take effort. It’s about asking how do we want to see the world in the future, and working towards that goal.”