Rallying cry for women in tech as Scotland seeks role models

Nathanael Williams

Charities challenge Scotland’s tech professionals to “be the change they wish to see” in boost to find girls’ role models and volunteers

SCOTLAND’S TECHNOLOGY BODIES are asking for female tech professionals to volunteer as role models as part of a push to help inspire girls of school attending age to take up and excel at science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and choose digital technology careers.

The project follows a report by Girl Geek Scotland and the Digital Technologies Skills Group which showed large gaps in women’s representation in the digital economy of Scotland and has resulted in them creating a range of resources, including free training webinars in April and May.

Given that women account for just 18 per cent of those in digital technology roles in Scotland, the aim is to target the gender gap at school where campaigns state research shows it begins.

“This is the opportunity to be the change you want to see and help shape the industry of the future.” Morna Simpson

Morna Simpson, founder of Girl Geek Scotland, told CommonSpace that: “We are really keen for more students and younger people working in digital technology roles to volunteer because their experiences can make an incredibly powerful impression on the girls they meet. This is the opportunity to be the change you want to see and help shape the industry of the future.

“We have created a framework with resources to help people get started and have even provided a handy script for time-pressed volunteers. The training webinars will cover everything from how to engage a teenage audience and why digital technology is important to the practical information and logistics you need before visiting schools.”

They will be four free training webinars for digital technology role models and mentors which will take place on Thursday 27 April at 7.30pm, Thursday 4 May at 12 pm, Tuesday 9 May at 10 am and Saturday 13 May at 1 pm.

The Scottish Government has already revealed its plan to make Scotland a “world-class digital nation” by the year 2020 and has cited the increase of women’s role in technology as part of a number of actions that need to be done to achieve that world class status.

A report by the charity Equate last September called ‘Rising To The Challenge’ which asked respondents what they thought could be done to improve the representation of women in Stem industries, also called for more mentors to placed in schools with girls learning from the experts about a career in science and digital technology. 

Its figures found that 50 per cent of respondents wanted to see a Scotland-wide campaign initiated to promote Stem careers for women. Additionally almost half of all young people between the ages of 12 -17 years want to see girls’ only spaces in which to learn about Stem.

Picture courtesy of GGS

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