Mr. Tim Cook, the Chief Executive at Apple, has opined that there are no good excuses for the absence or lack of women in the Tech space. This was revealed in an exclusive interview with the BBC.
Mr Cook further stated that technology “will not achieve nearly what it could achieve” without a more diverse workforce.
Speaking more on how important the inclusion and presence of women in Tech really is, Mr. Cook says, “I think the essence of technology and its effect on humanity depends upon women being at the table.”
“Technology’s a great thing that will accomplish many things, but unless you have diverse views at the table that are working on it, you don’t wind up with great solutions.”
He went on to say that while companies including his own, Apple, had made progress on diversity, there were “no good excuses” for the tech sector not to employ more women.
Apple had 35% female staff in the US in 2021, according to its own diversity figures. The has also just launched its founders’ development programme for female founders and app creators in the Cook
It launched its original Apple Health Kit in 2014 without a period tracker – which led to accusations that this was an oversight due to male bias among its developers.
An estimate made by Deloitte Global has it that large global Technology firms will reach nearly 33% overall female representation in their workforces in 2022 on average – with 25% occupying technical roles.
However, one challenge facing the sector is the lack of girls choosing to pursue science, tech, engineering and maths subjects at school.
“Businesses can’t cop out and say ‘there’s not enough women taking computer science – therefore I can’t hire enough’,” says Mr Cook. According to him, “We have to fundamentally change the number of people that are taking computer science and programming.”
His view is that everybody should be required to take some sort of coding course by the time they finish school, in order to have a “working knowledge” of how coding works and how apps are created.
To this effect, Apple has also created its own programme language, “Swift” along with content for learning how to use it.
Delving into another major and evolving aspect of Tech during the interview, Cook mentioned how “profound” he thinks Augmented Reality (AR), and the concept of the Metaverse are.
“In the future, people will wonder how we lived without AR,” he says. “We’re investing a tonne in that space.”
Augmented Reality is a mixture of digital content and the real world – a very simple example might be using the phone on your camera to insert virtual furniture before you buy it, to see how it might look in your house. The metaverse is the concept of entire virtual worlds – and big tech is investing heavily in it, not least Meta, formerly Facebook, which re-branded itself to reflect its new priority.
‘Equalising the playing field’
A small group of female app founders, three of whom have joined Apple’s new programme, were also approached over the interview, credited to BBC News.
One of those is Alexia de Broglie, who created a personal finance education app called “Your Juno”, for women and non-binary people, after being shocked by how little her female friends understood about finance.
She said she belongs to some WhatsApp groups for founders, and that some of those are 90% male.
“[The women] all know each other on a first-name basis, which is crazy, because there are so many men that are building start-ups, and they definitely don’t know each other.”
Ariana Alexander-Sefre runs Spoke, a wellness app aimed at young people, which she created after her younger brother lost a friend to suicide.
“I hope that in five years, that there’s not even going be a thing of female founder, or there’s not even going to be a defined niche because, you know, there will just be so many different people working on different things,” she says.
“I’d love to see the whole playing field just equalised.”
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