How I became a male ally for women in tech15/11/2019
Jack Wallace is a DevOps trainee at our London Wall Academy. Growing up hearing how his mother had faced challenges in the workplace as the only woman among a team of men, Jack jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for our Code First:Girls workshops and help more women break into the tech industry through coding. In this blog he discusses his motivations behind joining Sparta Global, our volunteer team and his new role as a male ally in the fight for gender equality in tech...
Ten weeks ago, I started my training at Sparta Global. I had just come out of university and I did not really know what to expect going into the world of work. At Sparta, I was welcomed by an extremely diverse office team, with people from all walks of life. I was humbled by meeting people who had come from difficult backgrounds, had faced prejudice and adversity in their life and had eventually launched successful careers in tech. After hearing the inspirational stories of so many of my colleagues, I became interested in exploring the importance of equality in business and the value of diversity in the workplace.
One prominent diversity issue in the tech sector is the under-representation of women in tech. I had witnessed this all my life through the experiences of my family and friends. My mum was the only female in a group of men in her workplace and she had regularly talked to me about the sexism and discrimination issues she had faced. I felt this was extremely unfair and became interested in helping eliminate this sort of issues. Along with the people I had met at Sparta Global, I grew a commitment to foster equal representation in the workplace.
After undergoing a few weeks of intensive Python training at Sparta, I was offered the opportunity to help teach Python at a Code First: Girls 8-week course hosted at our offices. I am familiar with the stories of many female colleagues, family members and friends who have benefitted from similar training initiatives and I am thrilled that Sparta is partnering with Code First: Girls to host free coding workshops for women. I think it is particularly important that we keep providing this type of digital training and community support, especially given the current lack of gender diversity in the tech sector. I felt very honoured to be chosen to help and I accepted the offer with glee.
I have now completed three sessions teaching for Code First: Girls, I have got to know some amazing women with exceptional educational and professional backgrounds who are striving to improve their coding knowledge. Helping teach them has been a very rewarding experience for me and everyone involved in this initiative. I have probably learnt as much from the students as they have from me. I feel extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity and I would encourage anyone and everyone to get involved with similar opportunities. I hope that in the future everyone – no matter their gender or background - will have access to equal opportunities in the world of tech and I am looking forward to seeing more companies embrace diversity the way Sparta does.