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The Tech She Can Charter, aimed at increasing the number of women in tech roles, has reached its second year after having grown to more than 90 signatory organisations.
The initiative led by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was launched in 2018 to address the reasons why women do not choose technology roles, and now has signatories such as the RAF, Channel 4, Natwest and Tesco committed to increasing the number of women in tech.
Signatory firms agree to educate more women in tech and encourage more women to consider a technology-based career, as well as do what they can to influence government at policy level.
Sheridan Ash, founder of Tech She Can and women in technology leader at PwC, said: “One of the highlights for me is the network of passionate and talented women we’ve created. By working together, we can use our footprint to inspire each other, younger women and girls looking for role models where previously they’ve not been visible.”
Many believe that collaboration between industry, government and education providers will speed up the pace of change when it comes to encouraging more women into the tech sector.
Ash highlighted the importance of Tech She Can’s signatory firms working together, adding: “The number of signatories supporting the Tech She Can Charter clearly shows how many influential businesses believe collaboration is the way to really make a difference.”
There have been many reasons cited for why women don’t consider technology careers, including negative industry stereotypes, a lack of knowledge about what tech roles involve and a lack of visible role models.
Tech She Can has now launched a pilot in schools to try to tackle women dropping out of the tech pipeline in its earlier stages.
Dubbed Tech We Can, the pilot introduced technology lesson plans in five schools in the Midlands that were considered “female friendly” to encourage girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 13 into tech. It also aims to break down some of the gender stereotypes surrounding the technology industry and teach young people about the types of roles that could be available to them in a future tech career.
Teachers, students and parents alike are often unaware of the types of roles available in the technology industry, and young people may therefore end up not choosing tech-related subjects or consider a tech career.
Before the pilot, 30% of the female students said they would be interested in a tech career, versus 56% after the six weeks of Tech We Can lessons.
It also increased awareness of notable women in tech, with only half of students being able to name famous women in tech before the lessons, versus 81% afterwards.
“We’re only just getting started and we believe the classroom is where we’re going to have the biggest impact, which is why our goal is to make digital, female-friendly lesson plans available to every school in the country,” said Ash. “This is about arming the UK’s teachers with the materials and support they need to inspire the next generation of technology experts.”
The initiative is working on developing new lesson plans, as well as resources for teachers, and will be working in partnership with Department for Education, the Digital Skills Partnership, and Tech Talent Charter to help influence policy.
Read more about women in IT
- Booking.com has found that a majority of women in the technology industry would recommend a career in the sector to young women in schools, as well as to female undergrads.
- In a survey, just over one-third of women in the technology sector said the lack of gender equality in the industry made them uncomfortable at the start of their career.