Launch of Code for Victoria II — Women in Tech

It’s officially happening: we need your help more than ever.

On Friday 3 March, Code for Australia joined forces with the Public Sector Innovation Fund and Special Minister of State, Gavin Jennings, to announce a brand new round of the Code for Victoria challenge. This time, we have our hearts set on supporting women in technology.

The Journey So Far

The original Code for Victoria Innovation Challenge sought to connect government departments and agencies with teams of talented technologists. Their task was to use agile-thinking and creativity to solve problems that affected the lives of Victorians, through the use of technology.

If we had told you six months ago that…

  • We were going to convince DELWP to move to open source software instead of native apps; or
  • That we were going to build a tool expected to save up to 30 hours per week of phone calls to VLA’s Legal Help team; or
  • That through a lightweight app we’d show that even construction contract data could be simple, beautiful, and easy to display; and
  • That all 3 departments want, and are continuing the work we started,

You might have called us naive in our ambitions.

But that’s exactly what we did.

It’s been an amazing journey and a wonderful opportunity to work with our government partners. As one of our Fellows put it: “it’s been the hardest and most amazing job I’ve ever had”.

The Code for Victoria I Team with Gavin Jennings MLC, Special Minister of State

The Code for Victoria I Team with Gavin Jennings MLC, Special Minister of State

What’s Ahead

Code for Victoria II seeks to build from where we left off. We’re again challenging not only ourselves, but our government partners, corporate friends and the wider civic tech community to come together to solve some of Victoria’s most pressing issues.

And we’re not stopping there.

Our work is based on the belief that the problems we face cannot be solved unless a greater number and diversity of people become involved in civic life. The current situation — where few participate and public institutions don’t reflect the interests or demographics of the people they serve — is a dead end.

Change can only happen when all of us, regardless of where we come from, come together. When we, as talented citizens roll up our sleeves and put our democracy into practice.

Currently, only 20% of Australia’s digital technologyworkforce is made up by women and nearly a third of female digital technology workers leave the sector within 10–15 years.

To us these figures represent countless missed opportunities to create technology that is representative of all of its user’s needs. It’s a missed opportunity in showing women that their voices are valid, important and needed in the world of technology. Most of all, it’s a missed opportunity in creating role models for young girls to look up to.

We want to change that.

 

Code for Victoria II

Code for Victoria II — Women in Tech will be embedding nine talented female designers, programmers and user-experience experts into a government agency or department for six months.

Tasked with creatively solving a public sector challenge, they’ll be given the opportunity to showcase what it means to work as a women in technology, and what it means to lead innovation by example.

We’re not claiming this is the only, or even the best way of solving Australia’s gender divide. But we know it’s a step in the right direction.

We’re prepared to learn and grow through this process, in order to have better conversations about how we keep moving forward — moving towards a place where men, women and everything in between are valued and represented equally.

Because putting our democracy to practice is going to take us all, and is going to take us forever, but then, that’s the point.

* * * * *

We’re a tiny organisation with some pretty ambitious dreams that we know we can’t achieve on our own.

If you work in government and think you have a challenge that needs solving, or if you’re a female developer, designer, scrum master or product manager — we’d love to hear from you. Head to the Code for Victoria website for more details on how to get involved.

If you’re a supporter of our work — subscribe to our newsletter or reach out to us for coffee (disclaimer: we love coffee).