I read an interesting article in the Evening Standard written by Harriet Brewis in which she quotes a leading female figure in technology in Britain ‘Carolyn Dawson – Managing Director of the UK’s London Tech week’ who is of the opinion that promotion of a career in technology should really start during a child’s education. The need to move the needle to get more girls involved at a young age. She also mentions requiring teachers to be brought up to speed to understand the significance of technology in today’s world and in the future in order to provide the necessary guidance at school. The argument is rather than just focus completely on the industry and how it can do more to close this gender gap, focus should also be on the educational system how the system should encourage interest in this field. With a clear vision, strategic planning on how this vision can be achieved can commence.
During a recent public holiday, I flew to visit family and on the return leg which was an early morning flight, I was still half asleep when I was dropped off at the airport. I wondered why I couldn’t see properly and blamed this on a smudged pair of glasses. As I reached to take off my glasses to give it a good wipe, I realised I had forgotten my glasses. Without my glasses to see signs and instructions, it took me 2-3 times longer to find the right gate and make my way there. What could have been an easy task became so difficult indeed. In order to tie this story to the section above, What is the vision for the technology sector as a whole? With a clear vision of what the sector wants to achieve to close the gender gap in the industry, the easier it becomes to strategically plan around this vision for deployment around the world.
I do agree with Caroline Dawson that focus needs to move to introducing Technology in the classrooms during a child’s early development as well as at home with parents providing support. Coding classes need to be added to school curriculum and learning kits provided for use at home. There are already positive strides in achieving gender balance through education and via a supportive industry as highlighted in the Financial Times special report on Women in Technology in 2018, with some countries way ahead than others, however a stronger message around a clear vision and timeline for achieving this still needs to be provided for without a clear vision and strategic plan, the road to gender balance will definitely be longer than it should be.