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Lack of women in tech will see UK go "back in time"

6/10/2015 by


The UK risks going "back in time" unless women are at the forefront of the growth of the internet, according to Martha Lane Fox.

The esteemed business woman and co-founder of in the online boom of the early 2000s, called the internet "the industrial revolution of our time", but added that without a strong female presence it will not reach its full potential.

In fact, she suggests that there is a very real chance that the UK will go backwards, due to an "unconscious bias" against women in the technology sector.

Lane-Fox, who is now a board member of Channel 4,, Marks & Spencer, and chairs the board of the digital skills charity, Go ON UK, said:

"All that's happened is that one bunch of very rich white men have transferred their money to another bunch of very rich white men and, worse than that, they are in a very small concentrated area of the world, in Silicon Valley.

"I still find that really baffling. The absence of women from the teams that are making the internet, the product designers, the coders, the engineers, the absence of women in the venture capital community."

She explained that during the Sixties and Seventies, there were "a whole load of women" in the computer industries, but a shift of culture in the Eighties prompted many to leave the sector.

"I am perplexed by this as I genuinely thought the internet would be an empowering tool for women," she added.

In an attempt to try and make sense of gender discrimination in the tech sector, Lane Fox suggests that it's borne out of top male bosses adopting a risk averse approach whereby they only invest in like like-minded individuals - who are likely to be male, too.

As such, she doesn't believe the venture capital community to be overtly sexist, adding there are "a lot of things that we can do that are imaginative to get women and girls into the sector right now."

Submit your views and register your interest for RPI's 'Women in Leadership' event in early 2016:  


UK, Women in Tech, Internet

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