Belfast Telegraph

Call for more women to get involved in technology business

Digital entrepreneur Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho has hit out at male domination of the internet and called for more women to get involved in the technology business.

Lady Lane-Fox told the Lords the internet was "controlled, run, funded, made and, to a large extent, used predominantly by men".

The independent crossbench peer said this was an "extremely serious situation" and "profoundly upsetting".

Only about 4% of the world's software developers were women and about 9% of businesses founded on the internet were run by women, she said.

"This from an industry that did not exist 30 years ago - an industry that has grown in parallel with the general acceptance that men and women should be treated equally.

"We have effectively replaced the establishments and hierarchies of the turn of the last century with exactly the same looking hierarchies."

Lady Lane-Fox, who co-founded lastminute.com and served as the Government's digital champion, said this took her breath away but insisted there was much that could be done to change things.

Warning that the UK would not be able to compete economically without greater female involvement in the internet, she said the "enormous skills crisis in the tech sector" must be addressed by training more women.

"We will design much better products and services if we involve women in their original conception and creation."

She said the problems of trolling and online abuse might have been foreseen if women had been more involved with internet development.

Belfast Telegraph Digital