It’s the end of the road for Women Who Code, following loss of “critical” funding

A business woman sitting at her desk but turned away from it looking wistfully out a window
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Women Who Code, a non-profit set up to support women in the tech industry, has abruptly shut down citing the loss of “critical” funding.

The organization was started as a community group in 2011 by a small team of engineers in San Francisco. Within a decade it had developed into a network of more than 360,000 people aiming to make the industry become more diverse, inclusive and equitable.  With more than 1,000 volunteers leading local and online communities, it has members in 145 countries worldwide sharing knowledge and mentoring one another.

The decision to close follows a vote by the board of directors to dissolve the organization. 

"This decision has not been made lightly. It only comes after careful consideration of all options and is due to factors that have materially impacted our funding sources - funds that were critical to continuing our programming and delivering on our mission," the group said in a statement published on its blog

"We understand that this news will come as a disappointment to many, and we want to express our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you who have been a part of our journey."

Women Who Code was registered as a non-profit organization in California in 2013 and in 2018 moved its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. Over this time, it’s hosted more than 20,000 community-led events and awarded more than $3.5 million (£2.8 million) in scholarships, as well as holding developer conferences and technical summits in tech hubs around the world and sharing more than 14,000 job opportunities. 

The group says it plans to try and fulfill any remaining obligations to the best of its ability, but will not be able to continue offering any program services. It will also be canceling all upcoming events. 

"Despite our collective efforts, the challenges we face as an organization have become insurmountable. We are deeply saddened by the difficult decision to dissolve the entity, but we hope that this work carries on beyond our end," it says. 

"The collective efforts of tech company leaders and supporters are needed more than ever to welcome women into tech, keep them, and ensure they are given the opportunity to thrive."


The tech sector shows an even greater gender gap than most industries, with BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, recently warning that at present rates of improvement it could take nearly 300 years to eliminate. Between 2018 and 2021, the proportion of female tech workers in the UK increased only from 16% to 20%, and stalled the following year.

A large part of the reason, according to research from Tech Talent Charter, is women's greater caring responsibilities, with 40% of women leaving the industry saying that care responsibilities were a “decisive factor” in their decision.

However, many of the problems faced by women in the industry go over the head of their male colleagues, with a study from recruitment firm Nigel Frank International finding earlier this year that four-in-five men believed men and women were treated equally in their workplace, with only 6% disagreeing.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.