How Manchester Ladies Close The Tech Gender Gap

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The gender gap is a situation we all have to deal with - but it's especially relevant in tech. Here's how Manchester ladies try to close the gap for good.

There is an ongoing concern about worldwide gender gap in technology. By the end of 2014, there are only 14% of women in the IT sector, and this share did not change much through the past ten years. The higher one moves in the hierarchy, the more alarming figures become with only 7% female CIOs. The highest percentage of female fintech founders participating in accelerator programmes was registered at 17%, and only 7% of VC funding are received by women-led startups.

Assuming the growing need in IT professions, situation calls for action. While some initiatives, from governments, educational institutions or corporates, attempt to address the issue bottom-up, by promoting science and tech careers to girls in schools, female professionals themselves are becoming game-changers in the tech industry. Manchester, one of the fastest developing tech startup hubs, has definitely some positive experience to share.

Ladies Who Learn

Adults (secretly) like to learn no less then kids or teenagers. Many women in Manchester clearly see a gap in the tech labour market, which is not going to be filled anytime soon. They sense the opportunities and wish to obtain technical knowledge to move their careers to a new level. Well, the good news is, these women are not alone!

Dinal Limbachia organises monthly events under telltale name Stop Talking Start Doing. The female (and male!) participants listen to invited speakers, share their work on closing the gender gap in tech, engage in discussions about what can be done in a short-term and network with like-minded people. All kinds of possible changes are talked through, such as in the workplace, media, education, at home, etc.

Innovation-driven MadLab runs a special programme for all the women. who wish to acquire technology expertise outside their working hours, Digital Skills for Women. This year the programme expanded across Greater Manchester area and offers its 130 participants amazing opportunities through 16 courses from 20 dedicated tutors and volunteers as well as strong connections with Manchester Girl Geeks.

Ladies Who Do

Those who have already chosen technology and digital industry as their professions, are not at all forgotten! They come together to create real female power in tech sector, support each other, exchange knowledge, learn new skills and simply get social in a (growing!) circle of like-minded women. Men counterparts, enthusiastic about closing the gender gap, are welcome too, mostly.

Just a year old, but already making a huge impact, SheSaysMCR does what its title suggests – organises engaging talks from extraordinary women, who made the difference and encourage other females from creative and digital sectors to do the same and grow professionally in the process.

Those, who are devoted to coding and improving in it, can join monthly meetups of Ladies Who Code. Networking with like-minded female professionals and interesting speakers are all present, as is socialising component in a friendly atmosphere. Women, who contribute to making world ‘a better place for users’, are invited to Manchester branch of Ladies that UX, an international group of women in User Experience. Together they form a positive and non-judging community helping each member to develop.

Already mentioned Manchester Girl Geeks take a wider focus in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). This non-profit helps women and girls both involved and interested in this areas come together and broaden their skill set through talks, networking and hands-on workshops. All events are made happen by the team of female-in-tech enthusiasts and volunteers.

Females of all ages are also targeted by WISE, a UK-wide campaign aimed to promote STEM education path for girls and STEM careers for professional women. The ambitious goal stands for creating 1mln of females in STEM sector, building their paths ‘from classroom to boardroom’. Manchester-based, as Career Development Programme on September 17th, events are organized every now and then.

Ladies Who Succeed

Urszula Stawik, managing director of Girls in Tech NW, mentioned in her interview to Digital Innovation, that ‘Technology is present in numerous aspects of our lives and this is something that makes it exciting and at the same shows technology requires a whole spectrum of skills and talents’. Women certainly possess this variety of skills, and today the realisation, that they are as capable in technical roles as men, is growing.

There is a diverse tech community being built in Manchester, and in the future I will be happy to personally introduce some brilliant women, who are making difference on a day-to-day basis.



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