What Silicon Valley Can Learn from Lebanon’s Women in Tech

Asia Joumaa is a Lebanese web developer at the Beirut-based internet company Pixel38 and the top student to graduate from the second training cycle of SE Factory, an intensive coding bootcamp that provides young people with the technical skills they need to land jobs in the Lebanese digital sector — a space dominated by men from the top down of the glassy ceiling, like every tech ecosystem across the globe.

“I’ve always wanted to work as a web developer, and then I got into SE Factory, which helped me get there,” shares Joumaa. “There’s a lot of young women who want to get into tech here in Lebanon.”

Indeed there are. At Beirut Digital District (BDD), a bustling tech hub in Lebanon’s capital that provides space and support services to 70 other companies (including SE Factory), the gender ratio is 55 percent women to 45 percent male. At the executive level, the ratio is 80 percent men to 20 percent women.

But let’s back up for a second. The fact that more women are holding positions within BDD’s creative tech cluster, which is home to approximately 1,300 employees overall, is a bright anomaly, as there aren’t known tech scenes in the Western world where women outnumber men.

In the U.S., the average percentage of women working in the tech industry is 30 percent, while women make up 59 percent of the country’s workforce. Meanwhile in the U.K., the percentage of women working in tech registers at 17 percent — lower than the number of women working in Parliament.

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June 6, 2017