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Collaborating to inspire the next generation of technologists

Our Tech She Can Charter celebrated its first anniversary and now has over 128 signatories. We’re collaborating to inspire the next generation of technologists to teach female-friendly lessons to over 700 students.

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Setting the scene

Following our Women in Tech: Time to close the gender gap research in 2017, we launched the Tech She Can Charter in February 2018. This year we celebrated the Charter’s first anniversary with an event attended by over 100 clients and signatories. The Charter, which launched with 18 signatories, now consists of over 128 organisations of all sizes, from industries including professional services, aviation, technology, banking, media and many others. These organisations have all pledged to work collaboratively to tackle gender imbalance in the technology industry.

The Charter’s signatories agree to work together on three streams of activity:

  1. Supporting policy - leading the diversity debate alongside educators and policy-makers, building relationships and raising awareness of the initiative with prospective supporters;
  2. Improving education - providing inspiring educational content for teachers, careers advisers, parents and pupils to bring the technology curriculum to life and show young people, especially girls, the possibilities that a career in technology can bring;
  3. An image overhaul - profile inspiring and relatable role models to encourage children and young adults, especially girls, to get into technology by showing the breadth of career opportunities available in technology.

Ultimately, our aim is to improve the gender balance in technology roles by focusing on taking action to build a larger and more diverse pool of young people who feel that a career in technology could be for them.

How we helped

In October 2018 we recruited an education consultant to design female-friendly digital lesson plans aimed at 10 to 13-year-old boys and girls. In January 2019 the first pilot called ‘Tech We Can’ was launched, with the lesson plans taught to 150 students over six weeks in five schools across Coventry. Technology plays a huge part in everyone’s lives and Paul Green, Head Teacher at Lyng Hall School in Coventry (and one of our partner schools) said “we recognise the importance of pupils, especially girls, seeing role models and being encouraged to choose STEM subjects and pursue tech careers.”

In July 2019, we completed a second pilot with 576 students from nine schools across the West Midlands, London, Kent and Surrey. In total this year, over 720 10 to 13-year-old students have been taught the Tech We Can lesson plans. 

PwC also hosts monthly steering group meetings with representatives from the other signatories to ensure actions remain on track, accountable and aligned with the Charter’s goals.

 

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"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.”

Margot James MP, former digital minister, at the one year anniversary of the Charter

Making a difference

Awareness of the Charter’s actions and work is growing, with the #TechSheCan hashtag so far achieving a reach of 26.4 million across social media. The Charter also won ‘Best Initiative to Increase Diversity’ at the WinTech series awards in June.

Feedback from the male and female students that completed our survey following the Tech We Can pilot was encouraging. Before we went into the schools, just 43% of students said they would consider a career in technology. After the new lessons were taught, this rose to 57%. Before, only 16% of students could name a famous female working in technology, which rose to 61% following completion of the course. Before the lessons, under a third (29%) of the girls said they would consider a future career in technology. This rose to almost half (47%) after the groups of students had completed the pilot sessions.

With the pilots complete and feedback from the teachers and students being used to update the lesson plans, a nationwide rollout is planned to make the digital lesson plans available and free-to-use for every school across the UK for autumn this year. We’ll also be focusing on expanding the reach of the Tech She Can Charter, by asking more organisations from across the UK to sign up and pledge to take action.

Contact us

Sheridan Ash

Women in Tech Leader, Technology & Innovation, PwC United Kingdom

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