DCMS has signed up to the Tech Talent Charter and according to Matt Hancock, all other Government departments are about to follow suit.
Those that know me, know that improving the diversity of the tech sector is something I'm committed to - both inside and outside of my day job. I run leadership courses for women in PR as part of my voluntary role at the CIPR North East, and have written on the topic numerous times.
Why then, you might ask, would I not be singing Mr Hancock's praises?
The Tech Talent Charter covers several areas which, together, should work to (slowly) start improving the gender balance in the tech sector. With only 17% of UK tech jobs currently being held by women, and the business case for a more diverse workforce well established, anything that improves the make up of the sector is a good thing.
Even the 'female quota' pledge doesn't bother me too much (although blind recruitment practices and better engagement with schools, colleges and community groups would be a more effective way to improve the number of women being shortlisted - let's be honest we all know quotas are a sticking plaster on a bullet hole...).
But the reason I'm not jumping for joy at DCMS' announcement is that, in such a high profile role, Matt Hancock could be starting a much bigger conversation about why we have a major gender imbalance in tech in the first place. In a recent piece of research conducted by Tech City UK and Hays Recruitment 45% of women claimed they ”do not have the skills to work in technology”. Looking specifically at 15-16 year olds (the age people start making serious decisions about career paths and further education) only 21% of girls said they were interested in a career in tech, compared to 74% of boys. That's a huge discrepancy and it starts far earlier than the recruitment process.
As a country, until we recognise that the gender imbalance in tech (and just about every other sector) stems from the socialisation of young people based on binary gender norms, we don't stand a chance to address the gender gap. Just take a look at how toys are gendered - even today you don't see many science kits with young girls on the front of the box.
As the new Secretary of State for DCMS, I welcome Mr Hancock's commitment to diversity - it's long overdue. But simply signing the Tech Talent Charter is not enough to impact a meaningful change.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has committed itself to tackling gender disparity and promoting diversity in the tech sector by signing up to the Tech Talent Charter. Currently only 17 per cent of tech and ICT workers in the UK are female.