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27 Feb 2018

Smoothwall support the 'Tech She Can Charter'

Smoothwall has joined forces with major organisations to take action to increase the number of females taking up technology roles in the UK. The launch of the ‘Tech She Can Charter’ sees the industry commit to work together to reach more young females across the UK to inspire and educate them about technology careers.  

The Tech She Can Charter has been founded to tackle the factors behind the shortfall of women in technology roles. Currently only 23% of people working in STEM jobs are female. PwC’s research Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap reveals that only just over a quarter (27%) of females say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males. And only 3% of females say it is their first choice of career.

The reasons why female students aren’t considering technology roles include: because no one is putting it forward as an option to them, they aren’t given enough information at school about what working in technology involves, and a lack of female role models. Without coordinated action at school age onwards to create a sustainable pipeline of diverse tech talent, the Tech She Can signatories believe the UK could lose its competitive edge on the world stage.

This could mean not being able to meet businesses’ technology skills needs, losing out on inward investment and creating inherently biased algorithms. The founding signatories include PwC, British Science Association, JP Morgan, Modern Muse, NatWest Markets, Tech Talent Charter, Tesco and many more. Additional organisations are expected to join over the coming days. Sheridan Ash, Women in Tech leader at PwC and The Tech She Can Charter founder, said:

“Waiting until women are entering work is simply too late - to boost the number of females in technology we need to take coordinated action to start inspiring and educating girls while they are still at school. “By working together we can reach more females at an earlier stage of their lives. We need to work harder to raise awareness about the exciting range of technology roles out there, in a sector that has the power to change the world. Promoting visible and relatable role models is a huge part of this, as it’s hard for girls to aspire to be something they can’t see. There are many brilliant women working in technology roles right across the UK, from creatives and design thinkers, to coders and data scientists. Technology is open to all and we need to get that message across. “We welcome other organisations to sign up to our Charter and take action to solve this important problem.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “We want to be at the forefront of tackling the gender imbalance in the tech workforce and make sure the fantastic opportunities on offer are available to everyone. “The whole UK government has recently signed the Tech Talent Charter, which focuses on increasing the gender diversity of those already working in tech roles, and we welcome PwC's new initiative to target and inspire the talent of tomorrow."

Claire Stead, Head of Marketing and Channel at Smoothwall commented, "working regularly with schools, we see the potential in young children and are delighted to be involved in an initiative that focuses on the need to encourage tech as a career option from a young age." The Tech She Can founding Charter signatories are signing up to the following actions:

  • Collectively work with schools across the UK to educate and inspire pupils and teachers about technology careers by developing technology toolkits
  • Maximise our impact by targeting schools in the Government’s social mobility ‘coldspots’
  • Celebrate and promote our successful women in tech role models
  • Ensure inclusive access to technology roles in our own organisations
  • Support the right environment to attract, recruit and retain females

The Tech She Can Charter has been created following research carried out by PwC into the reasons why females aren’t going into technology careers. The research was launched at The Science Museum with the aim of bringing together different organisations to take action together to change the pipeline of women coming into technology roles.

For more information on the Tech She Can Charter, please visit this website.

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