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The UK branch of international network Girls in Tech has launched its Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme designed to give advice to girls and women starting or advancing careers in the technology industry.
The six-month programme started on the 9 September 2015, and will feature a series of workshops focusing on specific areas in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
“We need to shift the debate and that is by providing role-models now – not waiting for the next generation to do it for us,” said Josephine Goube, director of the programme.
“The Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme celebrates and supports the women tech talent we have, instead of discussing the tech talent it lacks.”
Goube thinks that, although changes to the curriculum are a step forward in introducing more women into the technology industry, it is also important to have role models established at other points in the timeline for younger women to look up to.
Originally the not-for-profit organisation was established in the US, with the UK branch beginning in 2012 and running three years of events and workshops for women to act as a network for women in the IT industry who are in their 20s and 30s.
The Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme was then established to offer further advice and support to women in the industry by taking on cohorts of 15 women to take place in speed networking sessions, mentoring and workshops to further advance their career.
“We received more than a hundred applications for the pilot of the programme. We first rated the applications against a set of objective guidelines we had prepared, and then out of the final 20 shortlisted, we held interviews to see which candidates would get the most out of the programme,” said Goube.
Meet the mentors
“We selected 15 women to be in the mentoring programme for the pilot. In the future we may expand the programme, but for the first one we thought a more intimate group would serve the mentees best.”
Workshops feature speakers, 50% or more of which will be women, who have a high profile and a great deal of experience and advice to offer the mentees.
Mentors, 80% of which are women, are matched with mentees based on presentations and biographies of the participants, on which mentors judge how effectively they can help the individuals.
Mentees will meet three or four mentors during each session, and members of the Girls in Tech team handle the match-making process to make sure everyone gets as much out of the programme as possible.
Men are always welcome to the workshops, and Goube tries to focus on promoting what women are already doing in the industry, rather than the problems that are faced.
Funding and mentoring support for the programme is being offered by a number of different organisations, including Google Campus London, Cult LDN, Not on the High Street, La Fosse Associates and WeWork London.
Read more about women in technology
The Mortimer Spinks and Computer Weekly Women in Technology Survey 2015 collected data between 10 April and 28 May 2015, and represents the views of more than 4,000 technology professionals.
Eileen O’Mara, senior vice-president at Salesforce.com; Sara Gardner from Hitachi Data Systems; Harry Gooding from Mortimer Spinks; and Debbie Forster from Apps for Good discuss what the IT industry could do differently to encourage more women to consider careers in technology.