Coding the Future: Asia's Female Developers Powering Global Shift

by Jessica Zartler / November 16, 2015

You may have read a lot of negative statistics about the lack of women in business and tech around the world, but what you might not have heard is that Asia’s newest generation of females is powering a shift.

Here at Taskworld, we’re proud of our female developers who are helping to code the way for future generations of girls in Thailand and in Asia.

Opportunities Opening for Women in International Business

Although many opportunities in various field are still dominated by men and cultural barriers are still widespread, Asia’s economic boom in the last ten years has empowered an up and coming generation of females in business and tech. “Asian women are also inheriting first-generation wealth and family businesses, something that was rare a generation ago,” according to research from the Center for Talent Innovation featured in the Harvard Business Review. To see the evidence, you don’t have to look further than Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business - seven of which are from Asia. This economic growth is paving the way for the progression of women on the continent.

Thailand Leading the Pack

Here in Thailand, women are progressing faster than many of their Asian counterparts. According to Mastercard’s Index of Women’s Advancement, Thai women in business leadership outpaced 16 other Asian countries in the study. According to the research, Thai women were the most progressive over the previous study, another sign that Asia’s economic growth is impacting the female market around the region.

Why Women?

It comes down to the bottom line according to research. “Companies with the highest representation of women in their management teams have a 34 percent higher return on investment than did those with few or no women,” says the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). Groups with greater diversity also solve complex problems better and faster than do groups with a lack of diversity. Overall says NCWIT, the presence of women in a group is more likely to increase the collective intelligence (problem-solving ability, creativity) of the group.

Females Filling More Tech Roles

While women are gaining more traction in business, there are still fewer females in computer engineering roles than their male counterparts. Out of 19 million software developers in the world, 18.4 percent, or 3.5 million, are female, according to a Global Developer Population study by Evans Data Coporation. That number alone isn’t very impressive, but if you consider the context that since 2001 the number of female developers grew a striking 87 percent, it’s a promising story for the future.

Diversity @Taskworld

Here at Taskworld’s Bangkok office, five of our 22 web and mobile developers are women, a number that continues to grow.

Meet Tow, Air and Poopan.

Three women, three stories, three different paths to coding.

 

Wanchuda Sukarrom ‘Tow’

Coding since: Age 12

Studied Computer Science at Chulalongkorn University

Why did you decide to become a developer?

My father taught me how to play on computers when I was a child. I grew up with it. One day, I was looking at websites and wanted my own. I was so happy and had so much fun when I was coding and that’s why I decided to become developer.”

What is the environment like in Thailand for women in tech and computer engineering?

”Rather than being developers, most women in tech tend to be QAs or analysts. So female developers are the smaller part of the population. Moreover, most people who graduated from tech fields will leave tech fields after certain amount of time to pursue other fields or have a family. We're definitely lacking in girl developers.”

What do you think is the biggest blocker for women in coding?

“I think that an important factor is gender inequality. Here, some people have a weird belief that men are better than women. Many girls are obstructed by this belief, so that they don't want to code. What we need to do is raise awareness of this equality issue.”

What does your team at Taskworld do to make females feel welcome, do you feel you are treated any differently?

“At Taskworld, we treat everyone equally as long as they have good performance and they are able to work at the standard.”

 

Prisa Dumrongsiri ‘Air’

Coding since: High School

Studied Software Engineering at Kasetsart University

When did you start learning to code?

“In high school in 2009 I started with the basics in C language for calculating numbers. I thought it was so awesome! I was so proud of myself when I started being able to solve problems.”

Why did you decide to become a developer?

“I have always dreamed of becoming a computer engineer, since I was six years old. I don’t know why [laughs] but I have always been interested in computers. It’s great because it uses thinking and logic instead of power for working, which is especially important for someone as short as me! [laughs] It’s too fun! I am my happiest when I can build an application by myself.”

What is the environment like in Thailand for women in tech and computer engineering?

“In Thailand, there aren’t too many women developers. The most opportunities are in startups like Taskworld.”

What do you think businesses can do to attract more female technical talent?

“For me, I love that Taskworld has flex time and gives its developers freedom. I think companies should offer flexible environments as women manage their time a bit differently. And probably some snacks and drinks too!”  

What does your team at Taskworld do to make females feel welcome, do you feel you are treated any differently?

“We are big on teamwork, friendly and open-minded. We teach each other new  technologies and share our best and different ways for programming. Sharing this diversity helps us to become better at problem solving.”

 

Krongkarn Jitsil  ‘Poopan

Coding since: University

Studied Computer Science

Why did you decide to become a developer?

Before I started coding in university, I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be. Then one day, I played around with Dreamweaver to create a website, ironically, with a lot of pink stuff. I was having so much fun with it I wanted to try to see what else I could do.”

What is the environment like in Thailand for women in tech and computer engineering?

“I think Thailand is open for women in IT because there are actually less bias and conflicts. But sometimes, in my experiences, there is still a mind set from management - even from female leadership too - that women are worse than men in terms of coding or logical thinking. I feel like us girls have to work a lot harder to prove ourselves and show that we are capable of coding, thinking logically and coming up with the best solutions.”

What do you think businesses can do to attract more female technical talent?

“I think businesses need to show candidates that there is no gender bias and how important diversity is in their workplace.”

What does your team at Taskworld do to make females feel welcome, do you feel you are treated any differently?

“I just started a week ago and I have had a warm welcome from the team and people here are very friendly and very helpful. Seems like diversity is valued and there is a great atmosphere here.”

A Long Way to Grow

Is this growth in female developers around the world sustainable? Will women still have opportunities in business leadership and management if the Asian economic boom slows down? Questions for the future...

But today, we honor our female developers who are growing the role of female tech talent at Taskworld and the world at large.

Have any constructive thoughts on why female coders are still so few? Any ideas for what businesses can do to attract top female talent? Would love to hear your experience in the comments section below.

Also, we’re hiring! Female web hackers or male, we <3 diversity! Apply here

Subscribe to newsletter