UK government meets tech firms to take action against gender imbalance

Education minister Nick Gibb called a summit with UK tech firms to take action against gender imbalance in IT industry

Education minister Nick Gibb gathered UK tech companies together this week for a summit in aid of the Tech Partnership to discuss the urgent action needed to tackle the lack of women in IT.

The Tech Partnership, announced by former universities and science minister David Willetts last month, was launched with the aim of achieving a 50/50 gender balance in technology education and careers at entry level roles by 2020.

IT employers present included Accenture, Atos, BT, BBC, Capgemini, Cisco, Fujitsu, IBM, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Mail, Save the Children, Tata Consulting Services, and Telefonica /02 and the summit was supported by e-Skills UK.

The employers had the chance to contribute to the gender imbalance discussion and to commit to the government’s plans to encourage more women to consider IT as a career.

The UK government also recently launched the Your Life campaign, which aims to encourage young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), especially among women.

Education minister Nick Gibb said: “If the UK is to compete on a global scale we want more young people leaving school with the ability to make technology work for them. One simple way to do that is to use all of the talent at our disposal and encourage more girls to study these subjects.

“The Your Life campaign will inspire young people by showing them the huge range of opportunities that technology creates. At the same time our new computing curriculum will give them the skills to make that technology work for them," he said.

“That’s why it’s vital that government, businesses, the technology sector and schools continue working together and sharing their expertise to achieve this goal.”

Ann Brown, senior vice president of human resources at Capgemini said: “It's saddening to see the dearth of women in technology, when there are so many opportunities to build a successful and rewarding career.

“Now is the time to focus on positive collaborative action that will make a real difference to future generations of female technologists.”

Karen Price, representing the Tech Partnership and e-Skills UK said: "No sector can afford to do without the talents of half the population. Women have so much to offer in technology, and in return the sector can provide them with a range of worthwhile career opportunities.

“The summit is an important opportunity for employers and government to discuss collective action that will enable more women to engage with technology at school, higher education and in the workplace.”

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