I wanted to share with you a campaign that has been gaining traction in the UK recently.
There has been a lot more media coverage of the lack of women in IT due to the launch of a new book. The ladies of Lady Geek have launched a campaign through their social arm to inspire young girls to become the next pioneers in technology, and to get the attention of the British Government. The founder of Lady Geek, Belinda Parmar has written a book called Little Miss Geek, to go alongside this campaign.
Whats the book about? (From the book description on Amazon)
Belinda Parmar charts the rise of the Little Miss Geek as she fights her way from childhood, through school and into the heart of the technology industry. Along the way the book outlines practical steps that will bridge the gap between women and technology, and help inspire girls everywhere to be tech pioneers.
You can get the book on Amazon here and there is also a kindle version http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Miss-Geek-Bridging-Technology/dp/0957389809/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kinc_1
My copy of the book is currently winging it’s way to me, so once I’ve read it I will report back. Some parts of the campaign make me cringe slightly, there’s a lack of celebration of the achievements that women have had in technology, but their intentions are all good. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking on a panel with some of the ladies from Lady Geek, and they are full of energy and drive for making a difference in this space. They also do a great job of addressing how the stereotypes around a “typical IT worker” can be so damaging when attracting people into our field, which we know is something thats always bothered me!
“What I like about the Little Miss Geek campaign is that it is practical. It goes beyond merely moaning about the data; it outlines simple techniques that companies and schools can employ to address the issue. As Parmar says, the plan is to address gender imbalance in tech in the same way that Jamie Olivertackled childhood obesity. There is a manifesto that companies can adopt to attract more women to the workplace — with initiatives such as apprenticeships, mentorship schemes, and “female heroes” programmes. Lady Geek also plans to run after-school coding clubs for girls and has started carrying out workshops in primary and secondary schools exploring boys’ and girls’ perceptions of the tech industry and attitudes towards the ICT curriculum.”
About Lady Geek’s campaign http://ladygeek.com/littlemissgeek/
Why we are running the campaign:
- Women only make up 17% of the UK’s tech workforce and this has been falling by0.5% each year = we need to encourage more women to want to work in the tech industry.
- There was only 1 girl for every 11 boys in the average UK A-Level computing class in2011. Girls account for 56% of high education applicants but only make up 14% of Computer Science and I.T. subjects = we need to excite girls to want to study computing, so they are more knowledgeable about tech.
- 80% of women want creative independent job roles. Only 30% of women believe that tech jobs can provide such an opportunity = we need to change the negative perception women have about the tech industry.
- 4 out of 10 gadgets are now bought by women but only 3% of women are creative directors in this industry = we need women to become creators of tech and not just consumers.
What we aim to achieve:
We hope to gain national Government awareness and backing, so the issue is taken seriously and initiatives are put into place to help get more females into the industry.
We won’t rest until women make up 50% of the UK’s tech workforce.