The Tech She Can Charter last night celebrated its first anniversary with an event in PwC’s Frontier space in London. Over 90 organisations from a wide range of industries have committed to collaborate on tackling the root cause of too few women in technology roles in the UK. The vision is for women to be equal members in creating and developing the new technology businesses, products and services shaping our world. The Charter has a number of initiatives designed to create and sustain the long term change needed to deliver on this vision. These initiatives include influencing policy at government level, creating and distributing female-friendly technology lessons for school children and an image overhaul for the technology careers.
The Charter includes signatories from organisations big and small, including the RAF, Channel 4, Natwest, Girlguiding, Missive and Tesco.
At the beginning of 2019 the Charter launched an inclusive technology education pilot named ‘Tech We Can’, with five secondary schools in the Midlands. Tailored female-friendly lesson plans were taught to girls and boys aged 10-13, with early evidence showing they were successfully changing perceptions among both boys and girls about the breadth of technology careers.
Future plans include further engagement with schools. New lessons are being developed and digitised, creating teaching instructions and a digital open-source library to help teachers tailor the learning of their pupils. On the policy front, the group will continue to lobby and work closely alongside bodies such as the Department for Education, the Digital Skills Partnership, and Tech Talent Charter.
Sheridan Ash, Tech She Can founder and Technology Innovation and Women in Technology leader at PwC, commented:
“A movement has been created. After launching last year with under twenty organisations, we’re closing in on 100 signatories, which is a fantastic platform to drive change. The number of signatories supporting The Charter clearly shows how many influential businesses believe collaboration is the way to really make a difference.
“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.
“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. This is about arming the UK’s teachers with the materials and support they need to inspire the next generation of technology experts.”
Margot James MP, Minister for Digital, commented:
"It is great to see so many companies pledging to inspire our youngest minds to consider a future career in technology and improve the diversity of our workforce.
“With only 1 in 5 digital tech jobs nationally covered by women there is more work to do to get the balance right. We want a digital economy that works for everyone and that means providing the access to the new employment opportunities that technology presents."
Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC UK, commented:
“As businesses and governments across the UK and the world grapple with the fourth industrial revolution, we all need to play our part in making sure we have trained the most talented people for the future. This cannot happen when groups of people feel excluded from opportunities. Success and innovation is driven by diversity, and society will benefit from a wider range of people bringing their perspectives and experiences to the table.
“I’m proud to see the momentum building with the Tech She Can Charter to inspire people from all backgrounds across the country. Technology will be central to the future success of business and our recent CEO survey showed that access to skills was the biggest concern for CEOs across the world, so it’s vital we create opportunities for everyone in this area.”
Wendy Redshaw, Head of Digital Distribution for NatWest.
“In the UK only 3% of females say that a career in technology is their first choice. My time working in technology has been fun, creative, intellectually challenging, and deeply satisfying – and I would strongly encourage women from all walks of life to consider this career path. The skillsets that have been required – complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, emotional intelligence, decision making, service orientation and negotiation are skills that girls either naturally have or can readily develop.
“We have a societal responsibility to build the workforce of the future and the Tech She Can Charter will play an important role in achieving this by encouraging more women to work in technology.”
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