Published on the 03/07/2018 | Written by Heather Wright
If the girls can see them, will they come?...
NZTech has launched another initiative in the ongoing efforts to swell the numbers of women in IT, this time showcasing ‘a collection of inspiring stories from New Zealand’s brightest female tech talent’.
Just as it says on the box, the 100 TechWomen project will profile 100 successful Kiwi tech women in a move Edwina Mistry, executive director of NZTech’s TechWomen said is designed to draw young women into tech careers at a faster pace, while celebrating the contribution of women in tech.
The stories, which will form a digital collection made available online via the ‘Women’ section of the NZTech website, will begin launching in late July.
“The saying you can’t be what you can’t see rings true for girls who have great potential in tech but lack awareness of the world of opportunities available to them,” Mistry said.
“The collection will become a valuable resource …to help [women] see what they can be.”
While Mistry didn’t disclose who will be the first inspirational women to be highlighted, she did reference both IBM’s Jo Healey and IT Engine’s Delia Gill, both of whom were winners in the recent WIICTA awards – with Healey taking out the Achievement category, while Gill was named Shining Star.
Despite ample programmes encouraging women into IT careers, widespread support – including from a large segment of men in technology – and research which shows women bring benefits to businesses, young girls still aren’t embracing the sector, at least not in numbers great enough to create speedy change. Among the figures TechWomen held up to highlight the lack of female influence in the tech sector was an OECD measure saying that less than one in 20 girls considers a career in technology, compared to one in five boys.
That lack of enthusiasm by young women is leaving a dearth of options for companies, many of which would happily employ skilled women to balance their still male dominated workforce, and spawning a proliferation of groups designed to encourage ‘diversity’ – at least on the female front.
“We hope [the 100 TechWomen project] will accelerate the number of bright young women into tech careers,” Mistry said.
“The collection will become a valuable resource for schools, universities and early-career women to help them see what they can be.”
The 100 TechWomen project comes hard on the heels of the completion of this year’s Shadowtech days, which saw more than 600 schoolgirls in years 9 to 11 shadowing female IT workers to get a feel for the job. Next year’s Shadowtech will see the programme heading to smaller regions in New Zealand and encouraging more Maori and Pasifika participation, putting some more diversity in the push for diversity.