THE BLOG

Women in Technology

12/06/2013 11:49 BST | Updated 06/09/2013 00:01 BST

First Fergie and now Becks, a changing of the guard you might say for football in what surely remains one of the last bastions of men in spite of the increasing acknowledgement of the ability of the players in the women's game.

Technology unlike football is starting to celebrate some of its female leaders, although the glacial pace of change on the gender balance in this sector couldn't compare less with the transformation technology is bringing to our day to day lives. It is not just transforming the way we communicate with each other but changing the way we work, arguably acting as both an enabler and an inhibiter, allowing me to join a conference call from my daughter's football training whilst creating an insatiable desire to check for the latest email regardless of the time of day.

Women buy more technology too; Theresa McHenry, from Microsoft was quoted recently that 66% of computer purchases are now made by women. A mystery to me then that women continue to steer away from a career in the sector which is shaping our very day to day lives.

If we look at the other end of the age spectrum, I read an article recently about a growing movement challenging the gender specific marketing of toys; leading the charge against the leading stores who place all science and construction products in a clearly labelled boys section whilst the girls are given caing and home play. It's no wonder few girls consider careers in science and engineering when this is how they are being influenced from such a young age but when you dig under the surface curiosity is no different. Working with a local primary on an enterprise scheme to encourage real life application of maths there were no shortage of budding Apprentice stars, both boys and girls were ready to translate their new found knowledge into cash and with it new gadgets for the classroom, so I don't believe the raw talent and ability is missing.

Perhaps somewhere along the way we as women lose the curiosity to try and understand how things work and how to solve problems. Personally I think it is far more likely there is an image problem with technology and I believe we should be able to do something about this if we work together. We need to do a Gok Wan style makeover for the technology industry, in the words of Stemettes (a fantastic organisation who Accenture are supporting in their goal of bringing girls into STEM careers) women in technology carry handbags and wear heels too. Contrary to popular belief, working in the tech sector is largely about working with people; requiring close collaboration and great relationships if we are to unleash the power of technology as the great enabler to businesses. Infinitely more glamorous than the thick rimmed glasses and windowless rooms in the depths of a dingy office block long associated with the industry. This message needs to spread, and I really think we can affect change - the sum of small changes - and who knows perhaps in the future we can have a technology not only purchased by a majority of women but designed and built by them too.

I am delighted to be one of the women shortlisted for the First Women Awards, run in association with Lloyds Banking Group. It is humbling to be considered for such an award and to be considered among the calibre of the others shortlisted. I look forward to the awards night on 12th June when I shall be wearing my most glamorous of shoes.

Emma McGuigan is shortlisted for the 2013 First Women Awards.

For further information click here.

The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 12 June and is hosted by Real Business in association with Lloyds Banking Group.