Girls across the world continue to be under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This is despite girls generally outperforming boys in reading and writing skills.
We know that diversity in tech, and other STEM industries, is so important to producing better solutions, products and company cultures.
So, how do we fix this imbalance? How do we encourage more girls to get into STEM subjects and careers?
For me, step one is to lead by example.
As a mother and a CEO in tech recruitment, I lead by practicing what I preach. If I was to eschew technology, I know others would pick up on it very quickly.
It’s therefore important we all give girls the opportunity to use tech confidently. From asking them to reset the router when the Wi-Fi goes down, to getting involved with coding classes, it all counts.
Girls need to be encouraged to get hands on with tech. They also need to see great role models leading the way. I feel this will always be important with feeling more confident.
Step two is to invite questions from girls interested in STEM.
I want to encourage our daughters, nieces and other young women to be excited about the impact a STEM career can have.
As many people know, I wasn’t brought up focused on tech. I was more interested in fashion, make-up and how long I could make my hair grow. But tech still found it’s way into my life.
I worked my way to Head of Product in a tech company. With ten years’ experience in product, I now run a recruitment agency that specialises in the technology industry. So I’ve been there – I know exactly what the world of work is like for a woman in a fast-growth tech company. And because of this, I’m always more than happy to answer questions about how exciting it is, what the work entails, and encourage more girls to be naturally curious about tech. (Plus, I still have plenty of questions myself!)
Step three? Broaden the conversation.
It’s not just about encouraging girls. It’s about making boys and men be more welcoming and aware.
My son, who is currently training to be a professional Fortnite player, is always online. I’m conscious about reminding him that girls can be just as great teammates (or formidable opponents) as boys. The same goes for my partner, who runs a highly successful tech company. Women in STEM contribute towards technology, productivity and digital growth. So it’s important that we create the right environment for women and men to flourish in the workplace.
Last week was the 10th anniversary of International Girls in ICT Day. It is designed to build awareness about the gender digital divide while supporting technology education and skills training. Ultimately their goal is to encourage more girls and young women to actively pursue careers in STEM.
Leading a recruitment agency in the tech industry, we see the evidence of this gender digital divide. However, we’re working to help create a meaningful shift in the gender gap, not only by our work, but by supporting causes like this. I am proud because my company is committed to having a workplace where both men and women have equal opportunities to succeed at every level.
What do you think?
Rosanna Keirney is CEO and Founder of RecruitmentJunky (and a ‘Girl in ICT’ herself). You’ll often find her posting powerful articles on her LinkedIn, or getting involved with recruiting (she says she’s slightly obsessed with pairing the perfect candidate with their ideal role). Want to get in contact? Email her at Rosanna@RecruitmentJunky.com .
Want to find out about some of our star women at RecruitmentJunky? Check out Kayleigh, Laura, and Lisa’s #MeetTheRecruitmentJunky profiles.
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