Morgan Stanley and We Are The City ran an event to inspire women to become tech role models and encourage more girls into tech careers. Our own tech role model, Lucy Lyle, was there.

We need more female tech role models to inspire the next generation. Could you be one?

The title of the event really caught my eye – having only come into technology in my adult life, I certainly would have benefited from having a female tech role model during my school years. I’d always been interested in technology but was never aware of the opportunities available and also didn’t have the confidence that it was something I could do. It was only really during my career break (to have children) that I fully explored tech and I haven’t looked back.

The event was hosted by Morgan Stanley and We Are The City to encourage women to become tech role models. As I look after all the tech systems at Business Clan and support the team with all their tech needs, I went along hoping that I might fit the criteria to be a tech role model. I am behind the scenes and at the centre of all our web and IT projects, making sure systems and processes run smoothly for Business Clan and our clients.

The technology industry is full of potential role models, yet many women believe they have to be a “super woman” to deserve the title of “role model”. Maggie Philbin from TeenTech gave an inspiring talk on what it means to be a tech role model. She gave fantastic examples on how their TeenTech awards have transformed both pupils’ lives and their schools. Ella Rosa (a 12 year old student), Mohima Ahmed (student and AppsForGood graduate) and Mona Niknafs (Technical Associate, Morgan Stanley) all gave confident and passionate talks about why we need tech role models:

  • Girls are crying out for female tech role models in a male dominated industry
  • Only a minority of girls focus on STEM subjects and these classes in secondary schools comprise mainly of boys
  • Girls lack confidence to join the industry

What we need to do:

  • Make girls aware of the real tech opportunities that are available to them, give them real examples of what opportunities are out there e.g. cyber security, big data, mobile, the internet of touch, the internet of things, cloud computing. These roles need to be more visible and better understood.
  • Make them aware of the requirements needed to succeed in business: creativity, collaboration, bold thinking, adaptability, tenacity and life-long learning.
  • Encourage them to understand that they should never give up, technology developments only come about from trial and error.
  • Get girls involved in technology from a young age. This can be done by asking school alumni to inspire students in their former schools.
  • Establish close relationships between tech companies and schools, colleges and universities to provide work experience and placements.
  • Influence our daughters’ career decisions and encourage them to follow tech careers.

Tips when talking to teens:

  • Understand your teen audience and make your discussions focused on them
  • Give them clear guidance about what GCSEs are important for tech jobs
  • Give practical advice on how they can get tech roles
  • Use past alumni to inspire and encourage students

How you can help:

A number of charities have been set up to enable technologists to get involved with changing the future. The opportunities are vast and don’t have to be time consuming. They range from speaking at a school assembly, running an after-school club, sharing expertise via Skype or mentoring a fellow female technologist. Below is a list of some not-for-profit organisations aimed at helping women in tech.

How we are helping:

- Our founder, Delia Porter, was invited to speak to the Sixth Form girls at Wimbledon High last year as part of their entrepreneurship week. Delia talked about her tech background and her first business, a niche consultancy in the world of Big Data. More recently Delia has been mentoring an engineering student.
- We’re involved with the promotion of tech through the south west London tech hub. Delia is facilitating the first meeting next month.
- We’re looking forward to working with CodeClub.

It was a truly inspiring evening and I came away wanting to get more involved. I hope this blog inspires you to join in too.

Lucy Lyle, IT & Web Design Consultant