Last week I had chin wag over tea and hot crossed buns with a lovely older lady, 83, in her apartment full of exquisite art work. Her scarlet painted nails, black fishnet tights, and fab abstract jewellery were striking, against her casual black and white business suit, and she was incredibly glam. She is an anomaly, an icon and...a software developer!
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Dame Stephanie Shirley, created the first ever software company, for women, in the UK in the 1960's. She was passionate about creating an environment for women to work, to be flexible, and work around family commitments. She ultimately became a self-made billionaire, off that back of this business, which all stemmed from a passion for technology, and the personal drive and energy that came following the trauma of her childhood. I was there because she agreed to support me in my mission, to inspire women in tech. Dame Stephanie, started her work over 50 years ago to try and make the technology industry 'gender free' but it still isn't. Women only represent 17% of all IT roles. This is mainly down to the fact that there are not enough female role models in IT, and the perceptions of girls, at school age, are that technology careers are not attractive. In a survey that I conducted last week, of female IT professionals, almost 100% of them said that they have had an exciting career in technology, although they didn't perceive them as attractive at school age. Almost 50% were also actively discouraged from a tech career by those close to them!
Along with Dame Stephanie, I have discovered some other fab women who currently work in technology, who also have a special story to tell about how they got there, and how technology careers have changed their lives. The 6-minute film includes - a highly academic teenager turned technology apprentice, a mum of three children and technologist, a black cyber security professional who is a mum and part-time Masters student, and a female tech consultant.
Please help us to share this video to help inspire women at all stages of their career, or just starting out, that IT and technology careers are exciting and are not just for men.
#BeBOLDforchange #JointheITcrowd #IWD2017 @QAtraining
HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today
Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email firstname.lastname@example.org