So, can girls succeed in TECH? And, what can we do to help encourage girls into these areas and increase awareness?
This year international girls day celebrates young ladies in technology. One of the concepts that still shouts out is the lack of women in Science Technology and Mathematics (STEM). UNICEF data suggests that less than 15% of female graduates are from these areas in over two thirds of the countries around the globe.
So, what can we do to help encourage girls into these areas and increase awareness?
When I was a small girl living in Manchester, I could see Jodrell Bank satellites from my bedroom window and was fascinated with the idea of space and the wonders it would bring. It was at this influential time when Haley’s Comet was due to pass by. I remember asking my dad for his binoculars so that I could try to spot it as it whizzed past Earth. I don’t think I managed this, but still, the memory of being excited about something remains with me today. This passion slowly dissipated as my confidence in math’s and physics dwindled due to believing I was not smart enough to make it in science. This is the same story I hear and read about frequently when researching women in STEM and girls looking to pursue careers in this area. Today, I am a Pharmacist and Attorney working in the pharmaceutical industry. As a professional woman and mother of two teenage daughters, I would like to think that the world has evolved in helping girls pursue dreams in Science & Technology, so I’ve personally done some investigating on the subject.
Did my research meet my expectations?
Now living in Switzerland, the educational system encourages children to start thinking about which areas they may want to work in at an early age. An exercise for young scholars we tried was from the website for National Future Day. It interestingly offers two distinct categories to choose from. There is one for girls and one for boys. What I found amazing was the idea that this initiative was aimed at increasing awareness for careers outside the expectations of gender. So yes, there was a link to many companies offering girls a chance to experience technology, building, architecture etc. Also, for boys’ opportunities in areas like fashion, music, veterinary science just to name a few. I realised that whilst the offering was not exhaustive, it does open the eyes of children at an early stage to explore areas and ideas outside the stereotypical norm. This is very encouraging for me as we step in the right direction, compared to what I experienced when growing up.
Though the Pandemic has exposed more scientific research, space travel has expanded and technology is driving how we live our lives. Still, some of the statistics are mind-blowing considering that we live in a digital era with science and technology taking off in the last 18months. According to UCAS, data from the UK shows that only 35% of females are studying in the following fields: Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Engineering and Technology. The more interesting fact for me is that whilst the number of women in STEM has grown little since 2015, the number of male graduates in the same fields has experienced rapid growth, so it appears that female graduates have stalled since between 2015-2019.
Technology has been a huge feature of the Pandemic. Students have been able to see the role technology can play in the real world. However, Old-fashioned preconceptions about these subjects do still exist and, overall, I am slightly disappointed in the lack of progress made for women in STEM. As a woman and mother, I believe it’s important to get girls excited about technology while they’re still young.
Progress is being made as some companies and organisations are trying to help increase awareness for young girls looking to get into STEM. Below are some links to practical and helpful sources for any young women considering a future in TECH.
Girls in Tech is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to eliminating the gender gap in tech. Committed to building the diverse and inclusive tech workforce the world needs. As a FREE member, you’ll have access to in-person and virtual events and workshops designed to help you grow professionally and personally. Plus, find a mentor and build meaningful relationships.
Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution –
IGNITE Worldwide is the answer to achieving gender equity in STEM. Working directly with teachers during the school day to provide programming that promotes STEM education and career advancement for girls and non-binary youth from historically marginalized communities. Through hands-on events, workshops, panels, field trips and conferences, students recognise new possibilities for their futures
Already a young lady in tech? What’s next? Techface.
Join a huge community of female tech talents ready to support you in your journey. Get to know exciting tech companies and tech teams by meeting them at our talent matching events and introduce yourself
Women remain underrepresented in TECH here are 16 organizations for women in tech
The National Future Day thus promotes equality between women and men early on when choosing a career and planning life. It is a cooperation project between school, the world of work and home. https://www.nationalerzukunftstag.ch/de/home/
Girls in Tech is an Accenture initiative dedicated to inspiring girls and young women to consider a future in technology, and help students, school leaders and parents understand what a career in tech means today. https://www.accenture.com/gb-en/careers/local/girls-in-tech
Other Great Organisations Supporting Women in Tech; https://startupsavant.com/nonprofits-supporting-female-tech-entrepreneurs
Aziza (Azam) Johnson
Empowered Woman, Executive Vice President of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs and Head of HR at Covis Pharma GmbH.