The Czech Republic has one of the lowest shares of female IT students within Europe. What’s even more alarming, the country comes last when it comes to the number of women working in the field, which is less than 10 percent. I spoke to Barbora Bühnová from Czechitas, an organisation trying to involve more women in IT, and I first asked her about the reasons behind this trend:
“I think that the key problem is how people perceive IT and computer science and it is usually a problem among young girls and women who decide about their future career during high school.
Why is it important for women to obtain this kind of knowledge?
“In my experience, and it is something I see all around the world, all companies are transforming into IT and they are into using technology in their core business, so this technical knowledge will become part of any profession.
“For those who are lacking behind in this knowledge it will be very difficult in the future to sustain the level in which they can perform. So it really is about keeping pace with the world moving towards technology.”
Your company is trying to increase the number of women in the world of IT. What kind of help do you offer?
“We are currently offering many activities and I think we are quite successful in changing the trend. Because we are quite visible in the society, I think we also have this indirect impact on people perceiving now IT as something that might be interesting to women.
“We teach a lot of courses and workshops which are trying to give some introductory knowledge of programming and coding to girls and women of any age. So we are trying to help them in entering this field.”
Are there any particular areas in IT which are more popular among women than others?
“From our experience it is very popular to start with coding in any kind of language. So these courses are very popular. They also enjoy classes on creating websites because they are helping them in their own projects.
“For example when they are selling something online, they can become independent by using the technology themselves. So that is something they appreciate, the fact that they can become independent.”
Would you say the interest in your courses has been increasing?
“Definitely. It is about spreading the information about how interesting coding can be and how fun it can be. So the interest is really there and even though we have many courses there are still more girls and women interested than we can actually accept.”