Diversity

Promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM

Diversity

Article provided by Greenlight Digital

In the fight to diversify the workplace, STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – have increasingly come under scrutiny.

In the US, engineering and the computer sciences make up 80 per cent of the STEM landscape. Yet women occupy a fraction of the jobs: 12 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. In the UK, the story is similar. The STEM workforce is estimated to be less than a quarter female.

Strangely, one solution might lie with a pursuit that, for a long time, was on the fringes of polite society: video gaming.

Video games and STEM are inexorably linked, according to study

An October 2018 report published in Big Think paints an interesting correlation between women who play games and women who go into STEM fields.

“The more girls play video games, the greater the chance they’ll pursue a STEM degree, regardless of what kind of game they play,” the report found, based on evidence collected in a longitudinal study surveying teenagers at seven different points in their life, from the ages of 13 to 20.

The study found that girls that played games were three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree at university than girls who didn’t play games.

No such correlation emerged with the teenage boys analysed.

Is it time we encouraged our daughters to get more actively involved in this booming, billion-dollar industry?

Well, as we discuss below, many girls are playing. The problem, in a twist of fate, is that the gaming industry has a diversity problem of its own.

The gaming industry’s diversity problem

The idea that playing video games is primarily the domain of boys is outdated. Women are increasingly playing too. In the United States, 41 per cent of players are female. In Canada, that rises to 49 per cent. In France, 53 per cent.

Yet representation in the gaming industry suffers in three key areas:

  1. Problem #1: the games themselves. As this list of the best-selling games of all time illustrates, the landscape is still dominated by machismo. The likes of Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty – even Pokemon – all ask that you play as a male character. In fact, not a single game on the list mandates that you play as a female character.
  2. Problem #2: the number of women working in the games industry is low.biz estimates that about 21% of the industry is female; however, dig deeper, and only 5% of coders are women. The nuts and bolts of these games are almost always assembled by men.
  3. Problem #3: expectation. Publishing houses invest millions in bringing games to market and are fixated on the idea that gaming is a male pursuit, or at the very least, that men are the more dependable market. But then, consider this: the heads of the ten biggest publishing houses are all male. Does bias come into play here?

Yet, change is coming to the gaming industry – slowly

But if gaming is symptomatic of a larger diversity epidemic, there’s also cause for quiet optimism, because the video game landscape is slowly changing.

Take The Last of Us 2. The sequel to one of the best-selling games of all time is set to star a young lesbian woman named Ellie when the game is released sometime in 2019 or 2020. Another franchise, Gears of War, has typically bristled with machismo. Its next entry, Gears 5, will feature a female protagonist for the first time.

What has precipitated this change? A few years ago, Sony went to one of their most reliable studios, Guerrilla Games, with a proposition. After years of good service, Guerrilla, who had been churning out games in the Call of Duty mould, would be given the chance to make anything they liked. Faced with a blank slate, the Amsterdam studio devised a story starring a young warrior named Aloy; an empowered female character tasked with saving her tribe. Horizon Zero Dawn was released in 2017 to glowing reviews and, crucially, sold well too. To date, more than 10 million copies have been sold.

Thanks to the commercial success of Horizon, publishers are starting to revaluate their blinkered approach to creativity.

Will STEM follow suit?

The STEM fields need to similarly break free of the rut they’re in. One way to do this would be to embark on a promotional drive that highlights the inventions female scientists have brought the world. At school-level, aptitude for sciences is shown to be even across the sexes. In fact, many girls outperform boys. What girls often lack, studies show, is the same conviction in their abilities.

Thus, girls need role models to look up to, especially when conventional thinking suggests that scientific enquiry is somehow the domain of men.

A drive to dispel this myth would go a long way to levelling the landscape. In the end, that’s an ideal we should strive for, because no industry should ever be dominated by a single gender. Uniformity only gives rise to echo chambers of thinking and a dearth of ideas.

Simply put, tackling inequality in STEM starts with telling a better story.


Sources:

https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/10/01/2019/women-stem-critical-innovation

https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/girl-gamers-pursue-stem-degrees

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-09-20-companies-really-need-to-ask-themselves-if-theyre-serious-about-diversity


Emily-Hyett

TechWomen100: What happened next for Emily Hyett

Emily Hyett

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a TechWomen100 Award.

Now in their third year, the TechWomen100 Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in tech – the emerging tech talent and role models for the future.

We spoke with Emily Hyett, who won a TechWomen100 Award in 2018.

I studied Physics and Astrophysics at University where I learnt to code and used Linux software for my project on extra-ordinary hydrogen emission of a galaxy, thought to contain a supermassive black hole. I found it facinating that I could infer the presence of a super massive black hole 600 milion light years away just by applying physics and technology to some measurements taken on Earth.

I started as a Graduate Technology Consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence in 2014 and within a week of joining was visiting high security prisons on behalf of the Ministry of Justice to assess the security of their IT estates. I was quickly promoted to Senior Consultant during which time I authored a business case to secure £320k CapEx technology investment for a client, led a Government Data Analytics project worth £280k and worked with a Financial Services CTO to define their new Technology Strategy, estimated to cost £1.3 billion to implement.

After being promoted to Principal Consultant I decided to take a sabbatical to put my technical consulting skills to use in a developing country. I flew out to Nairobi to work as Product Manager in a technology social enterprise start up. Whilst in Kenya I led the development of a live prototype for a new platform which connects informal sector workers to job opportunities. The mobile app is now used by Site Managers across Nairobi to employ some of Kenyan’s poorest people.

Upon my return I started a new role as Account Manager, now solely responsible for the authoring, agreeing and securing a contract worth £2.6 million.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a TechWomen100 award?

It was brilliant to be recognised externally for the work I’m doing, especially amongst so many exceptional women.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the TechWomen100 award?

Claire Russell and I were both featured on BAE Systems Applied Intelligence website and also our intranet. I was nominated and shortlisted for the Women in IT awards this year too so I’ll definitely be nominating other inspirational women that I work with for next year’s awards.

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Don’t play down your achievements!

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

If you stop learning then move on to something new. Worry less about what your ‘five year plan’ looks like and take opportunities that scare you.


WeAreTechWomen & Jobbio featured

WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen launch new job board platform in partnership with Jobbio

WeAreTechWomen & Jobbio

WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen have partnered with Jobbio, to create a digital careers marketplace targeting their four million monthly visitors.

Dating back to 2014, the WeAreTheCity Jobs Board promotes career opportunities to their large and growing female demographic of 120,000 members. As more businesses focus on talent diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and create competitive advantage, this partnership will serve to further support businesses and boost their female pipeline in the technology, financial services, professional services and legal sectors.

vanessa-high-res-watc_1715-tech-site

Vanessa Vallely OBE, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity said “I am extremely excited to begin our partnership with Jobbio."

"The new jobs board platform will enable us to connect our WeAreTechWomen members to companies who are serious about building their pipeline of female tech talent."

"Partnering with Jobbio on the new platform has improved the overall functionality and look of our previous platform."

"We now have the ability to feature more content and create dedicated pages for clients in order to promote their roles and tell their stories!"

"I am looking forward to WeAreTheCityJobs being the conduit between women in tech seeking a career change and firms who will not just recruit them, but who will actively support their career progression."

The job board platform launches today with a focus on jobs in the technology sector. This is to coincide with the launch of WeAreTheCity’s latest resource platform for women working in technology, WeAreTechWomen.com. Additional jobs across a multitude of sectors will be added over the coming weeks.

Screen grab for new job board

WeAreTheCity jobs launched with partners such as IBM, Oliver Wyman, Deloitte, C&C Search and DataArt. Clients joining the new job board platform over the coming weeks include Barclays, PwC, Net-A-Porter, Worldpay, Refinitiv, SAP and BNY Mellon, amongst others.

Stephen Quinn, CEO, Jobbio said “This partnership comes at a time when both companies have already established strong company branding platforms."

"At Jobbio we are passionate about the progression of women in the workplace."

"We have worked with WeAreTheCity for a number of years on initiatives such as the Rising Star Awards and our careers fair, Higher."

"Building the new jobs board platform together is a fantastic evolution of our partnership."

"The new platform will bring greater opportunities, such as the ability to distribute relevant client content, such as recruitment videos, staff interviews and articles, all of which have been proven to boost company job applications and enable candidates get a better understanding of company culture."

"Now, using WeAreTheCity’s multiple distribution channels (which include newsletters, job alerts and social media) companies will be able to promote open roles alongside their content, which attracts both job seekers and the passive market."

New partners Jobbio, are headquartered in Dublin, but also have an office in London. A careers marketplace and inbound hiring platform, Jobbio connects the best talent with the most innovative companies. The brand reaches a talent base of over 100 million people and is trusted by 6,000 companies globally. Jobbio will enable companies working with WeAreTheCity to gather applications, and then build a talent pool for immediate or future use.

The job board forms part of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen, which is predominantly visited by women, however we do encourage job applications from all genders.

To find your next open role, visit here.

To promote your open roles on WeAreTheCity Jobs or to take advantage of our free three month job promotion trial, please contact [email protected]


Top tips for a job interview in the tech industry

Tech Interview FeaturedTop tips for a job interview in the tech industry

Getting a job in tech industry can be challenging. Currently it’s one of the least diverse industries in the world, and although female representation is increasing it’s still lagging far behind other sectors. At Mojo we pride ourselves on creating an equal workforce, ensuring we have a gender balanced team, as well a leadership full of strong women who are are in historically male dominated positions.

Nevertheless, making sure you stand out in the interview is the first step required to breaking in to the traditionally male dominated sector. Below are my top tips to smashing the interview for your dream tech job.

1 - Research your prospective interviewees and their company

It goes without saying that interview prep is a given for any job - researching the company, what they do, their competitors etc…will provide you with a holistic insight into life working at the company you’ve applied for. Researching the role should also be of prime importance, ensuring you have a clear idea of the responsibilities expected, in addition to showing your potential employers how you can add value - but why not take it a step further?

If you’re given the details of your interviewees, having a brief snoop of them may provide you with some knowledge into similar points of interests that you previously wouldn’t have known. Sharing interests such as hobbies or work relevant topics can build a bond, arguably one of the most important pull factors in getting someone on your side. Using social media tools like Twitter, or Linkedin can help with this.

2 – The right questions, not just any!

Asking questions is a given in any job interview, however it’s essential you ask the right ones to your interviewer. Prior to the interview, I’ve heard suggestions of noting down 10-20 questions that you think are appropriate to ask - I think this is a good idea, however questions should naturally occur during the interview if you’re listening and fully invested in getting the job, so it’s important to be flexible and not ask questions for the sake of it.

Intrinsically linked with my previous point is the need to ask the right questions - enquiring about topics such as technological developments within the company, or asking your interviewers opinions on such topics will outline several key personality traits to your employer. It will show your eagerness to learn, in addition to acting as a catalyst for building natural rapport with your prospective employer - everyone likes feeling like they’re being listened to!

3 – Gaining a wide understanding of the relevant industries accompanied by a shrewd insight into future innovation

Tech is a broad all-encompassing topic, ranging from food & drink to the property sector, or mortgages in our case. Exhibiting a wide knowledge of both the wider tech industry and (the one you’re applying for/involved in) will highlight your interest in the business, in addition to developments in a plethora of industries.

As well it’s broad reach, tech is always changing and moving forward. As a result, it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends, and being able to see through the hype and identify what could be game changing for your business/industry, will put you at the forefront of the interviewers mind. There’s loads of cool tech out there but is it right for the business and their commercial goals? You need to demonstrate this understanding in an interview

I’d also suggest displaying a strong understanding of complex technological concepts and products, evidencing your intelligence and comfort when talking about things a small proportion of people can understand

4 - Personality is sometimes as/more valuable than experience

Within the tech industry, it’s a well-known fact that several companies employ people as much on experience as their do culturally. Don’t get me wrong, experience is incredibly valuable, and most employers will want applicants to have job experience in some capacity.

However, for specifically our start-up, we look for autonomous individuals who are happy to take on work and responsibilities outside of their remit. Relating to my previous point, we also look for people who are wanting to evolve, learn and develop their skills - showing evidence of motivation and a belief in your interviewees company, will go a long way.

5 - Be yourself!

Being true to your own personality is undoubtedly one of the most important tips I can give for someone looking for a job in tech. Despite the tech industry revolving around unsurprisingly, tech, we actually communicate and talk to each other regularly. As a result, if you pretend to be someone that you’re not in the interview it’s likely that, that will get found out relatively quickly.

Getting to the interview stage is great work, but it’s important to make sure you’re also a cultural fit for the company. I’m aware the traditional interview attire and attitude is professional; however, I’ve also heard of some tech firms being put off by people who seem like rigid out-dated applicants in suits.

Thus, check out the company’s website, social media channels and any press coverage they’ve received, to get a feeling of what kind of company they are. You can also look at job sites websites to see how past and present employees have ranked their companies, this should give you a good insight into whether current are enjoying their jobs.

Amy Lawson HeadshotAbout the author

Amy is a highly experienced marketer and operations specialist. She has held senior roles in both small and large businesses, including CO-OP Bank & Allianz Insurance. She has an outstanding track record of success in marketing, consistently demonstrating versatility, innovation and drive for continuous improvement. Operating in a dual role at Mojo as COO and CMO, she is responsible for the customer journey, operations, content marketing and CRM programs.

https://mojomortgages.com/


BAE Systems Returners Programme featured

Returners Programme becomes an integral part of BAE Systems' attraction strategy

BAE Systems Returners ProgrammeBAE Systems Returners Programme

Last September, BAE Systems Maritime embarked on an innovative pilot programme to attract back engineers after a career break. 

Recognising the value that experienced engineers had to offer and the barriers that they faced to return to their vocation, BAE Systems Maritime was delighted to run a pilot programme to welcome back much needed skills to the industry.

The programme was an overwhelming success and 100 per cent of programme participants have now joined the business on a permanent basis in varying roles across several sites.

BAE Systems was impressed by the fantastic capabilities and skills of those returning and STEM Returners are delighted to be partnering with them again to offer a new group of returners a route back to a rewarding career at Portsmouth Naval Base or at nearby Broad Oak.

BAE Systems Maritime designs and manufactures naval ships and submarines, as well as their state-of-the-art combat systems and equipment. They also offer an array of associated services, including training solutions, maintenance and modernisation programmes to support ships and equipment in service around the world and the management of supporting infrastructure.

BAE Systems recognises that returners often face an insurmountable barrier to returning to work after a career break, be that because of a perception by hirers of a deterioration of skills, or a lack of flexibility. This ground-breaking programme shows career break returners that BAE Systems values the skills that they have gained whilst out of industry by enabling a return to their career in a flexible and inclusive way.

The programme is open to men and women in Portsmouth and surrounding areas who have taken any length career break, as well as those who wish to transfer sectors but lack the relevant work experience.  The company is looking for returners with experience in one of the following areas:

  • Civil Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Safety Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Electrician
  • Systems Engineer
  • Radio Frequency Engineer
  • Power Electronics Engineer
  • Logistics Engineer

Candidates signing up to the ‘STEM Returners’ programme will join a paid 12-week structured return to work programme, which will include soft skills training, technical training and on the job experience, as well as coaching and mentoring support.

At the end of the 12 weeks, job offers will be made by BAE Systems Maritime to those who have shown the necessary skills and aptitude to join the engineering specialists. This isn’t just work experience, but a genuine opportunity to restart careers within an exciting global organisation.

If you wish to apply for the second programme, please click here.

Dr Graham Farnell, Engineering Director, BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: “Finding exceptional talent to help us deliver first class engineering and technical support to our customers is fundamental to our business.

“The work we do across the engineering disciplines to design, build, maintain and upgrade ships, and the support and equipment we provide to people, is absolutely vital in assisting the Royal Navy achieve its operational commitments on behalf of the UK across the globe.”

Kat Bruce, one of last year’s STEM Returners said, “After only six weeks of the 12-week programme, my skills were recognised and I was encouraged to interview for an internal permanent position as Senior Project Engineer that had become available within the area that I was working."

"I was delighted to be offered the job and now have an opportunity to work within an exciting engineering environment which is my true passion."

"I have also been supported and encouraged to re-gain my IMechE Chartership within the next six months which is great.”

Natalie Desty, Founder of STEM Returners added, “We are so excited to be running this programme again with BAE Systems Maritime."

"They have shown that they really value the skills and experience that returners have to offer which was demonstrated in them offering permanent roles to all their returners."

"They create a supportive and inclusive environment where returners can really thrive.”


rise of pregnancy tech featured

The Rise of Pregnancy Tech

Bonnie Roupé, Founder and CEO of Bonzun, the company that creates tools designed to support women and their families during pregnancy, comments:

Something we don’t always realise is  that pregnancy is something that affects every single person on this planet - many of us give birth, and all of us are born. However, despite the monumental leaps that have taken place in the world of medicine, the actual process of pregnancy has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Mothers-to-be are still treated like children, not adults - the information shared with them is doled out in small portions, the dangers downplayed; the stereotypes of a joyous and glowing pregnant woman still prevail, putting unnecessary pressure on pregnant people to portray an image they might be far from feeling. Pregnancy tech aims to change all of this and give the power back to the mothers-to-be, arming them with the necessary tools and knowledge to ensure a calm, and most importantly, safe, pregnancy.

I founded Bonzun, the company dedicated to building tools to support women throughout pregnancy, as a direct result of my own experience. When I was pregnant with my second child, I developed pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition that endangered both me and my unborn child. I didn’t know the danger we were in, because I didn’t know what symptoms I should be looking out for, or what words I should be using to look up my symptoms online. I was fortunate and received timely help, so that both me and my child were safe and healthy. However, further research indicated that my experience was far from unique - a 2018 World Health Organization report found that an estimated 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day. The same report also states that the vast majority of maternal deaths are preventable, which suggests that the main cause of these deaths is a lack of information and knowledge.

Addressing this knowledge gap is one of the main reasons for the existence of pregnancy tech - as innovators, we want to provide accurate, reliable and up-to-date information to pregnant women. In Bonzun’s case, the My Pregnancy app provides  information about the baby’s development week-by-week, as well as outlining the bodily changes the mother can expect while the pregnancy progresses. Users are also able to consult a virtual midwife about any unusual symptoms they experience and see which conditions these correspond to. I firmly believe that women should be armed with as much information as possible, and the go-to advice shouldn’t always be ‘consult your doctor’, as this can lead expectant mothers to downplay their symptoms or ignore them for longer than is wise. The other benefit of knowing and understanding your symptoms is of course the fact that is financially beneficial - after all, preventing and treating complications at an earlier stage is much more efficient. Similarly, having access to reliable information from the comfort of their own home, means that healthy women don’t need to book doctor’s appointments as often, freeing up valuable medical time.

The second component of pregnancy tech is to alleviate some of the pressures faced by pregnant women as their pregnancy progresses, specifically about their emotions and their appearance. There is a certain expectation for women to feel happy all the time while they are pregnant, which is not only unrealistic, but also completely impossible - pregnancy causes hormone levels to fluctuate continuously, while the birth of a child is both terrifying and exciting. Pregnant women do feel happy, but they can also feel tired, moody, irritated and annoyed. Similarly, the media has a tendency to glamorise pregnancy - one only has to look at Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle to see the ‘expectations’ - a ‘glowing’, beautiful woman, always smiling, and wearing high heels. It is important that we remember that these women are in the public eye for a relatively short amount of time, that they have teams who help them curate their look and that we, as the public, are not privy to the day-to-day realities of their pregnancies. Pregnant women are beautiful, but they can also be tired, sick, swollen and uncomfortable.

Ensuring the health and safety of both mother and child is at the core of pregnancy tech. I feel that given the right tools, as well as reliable and scientifically accurate information, we can reduce maternal mortality rates, as well as the number of stillbirths worldwide. And if we can make every pregnant person feel like their experience is wonderful and completely normal, regardless of what they look like or what they are wearing, then that’s just a fantastic bonus.


FinTech

Women in FinTech: Fresh perspectives

The financial services industry is well known for being fast paced, competitive and male-dominated.

fintechIn Fintech, women are vastly underrepresented, making up just 29 per cent of staff in the sector, despite representing 47 per cent of the UK workforce. But this is also an industry in transition – and growing numbers of companies now recognise the importance of promoting gender neutral pay structures and flexible working policies.

As Rosie Silk, R&D Tax Manager at Kene Partners, explains, with the right working policies and role models, concerns about attracting women to the industry should be rapidly consigned to history.

Zero Bias

Gender pay gaps. Endemic sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. It is easy to assume that the experience of women in the workplace has failed to improve over the past three decades. But that is patently untrue. There are many organisations within the FinTech sector that are passionate advocates for generating a positive working environment, and one that has zero gender bias.

Given the challenge of recruiting high calibre individuals, companies need to encourage working practices that suit today’s attitudes towards work/life balance. Both women and men should have equal access to flexible working policies, for example.

However, of course, FinTech is a young industry. Fast growing, start-up organisations will often overlook the need for flexible working models to support parents of both sexes. Indeed, in many start-ups, such flexibility is simply not an option. But this is an industry that offers choice: if flexible working is important to any individual, then look for a different employer. There is without doubt a divergence in cultural attitudes and behaviours as well as working practices in firms across the FinTech sector, and it is incredibly important for both employer and employees to understand and identify those issues up front. Skills and experience alone are not enough to ensure a great fit.

Role Models

This is also where female role models can play an important part, not only to inspire contemporaries and the next generation but also to set expectations within the workplace. The days when women leaders felt the need to adopt so called male leadership traits are long gone; successful women are leaders on their own terms in FinTech as much as any other industry, and that is an important message.

Attending an innovation conference recently and finding four women on a panel of five, is incredibly inspiring. Furthermore, these women can also reinforce a strong culture by acting as coaches or mentors to new starters. But it is also important to remember that changes to the workplace alone can never achieve zero gender bias without a wider change in culture, at home and in education.

Chat to any successful women in FinTech, or just any successful women, and the story will be the same: they were provided with a huge amount of confidence at home, encouraged to try new experiences and treated equally. As a result they expect to be treated fairly at work and to have access to the same opportunities. They are also confident enough to take risks and embrace innovative business areas such as FinTech.

For any business leaders carefully crafting good flexible working policies, don’t forget to apply the same encouragement and support once you get home from the office!

Conclusion

Despite the occasional negative headlines, times have without doubt changed. In addition to the support provided by switched on employers, women leaders are now becoming commonplace and acting as role models to the next generation. Companies across the board are investing in new working practices to support all staff and, as this continues, hopefully, within the next few years this conversation will be consigned to history.


Teens in AI Hackathon with Deepmind, Founders4Schools & CogX - Are you in?

London Tech Week Hack

To celebrate London Tech Week , Founders4Schools, Teens in AI and CogX are running a Teens in AI Hackathon supported by the biggest brains in AI such as Deepmind & The Alan Turing Institute.

We are on a mission to inspire underrepresented young people across London to explore AI and use it to help the UN achieve its Sustainable Development Goals

Would you join us to inspire young people to become future technologists, innovators and thought leaders in Artificial Intelligence?

STEP 1: Sign up on Founders4Schools platform

STEP 2: You will receive an invitation to attend a mentoring session by a school via Founders4Schools platform.

STEP 3: Attend an event between 10-24 May. A school teacher will send you details about the event and your role in it.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Hear from a mentor...

“Being a Mentor at the #girlsinAI hackathon, meant being there to support and accompany the girls through a very intense weekend where they had to work collaboratively and think creatively with a group of girls they had never met before.

Our role as mentors is to remind them to make the most out of the experience, reminding them to have fun, but at the same time, encourage them to work to their fullest potential. We are there to make sure that the team dynamics are positive and that everyone is involved. It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.”

Check out this video for inspiration

Who We Are Looking For:

TECH MENTORS

AI/ML developers. Any stack is suitable, but an appreciation of data science and machine learning is a bonus.

Teens usually have mixed experiences of coding - from none to expert. We do not expect you to code for them, but rather guide them.

At Teens in AI we are technology agnostic - our toolkit contains tools from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel and what not - you are welcome to introduce them to the tools you like, as long as it helps them achieve the end goal: build an MVP that works and demoable.

Please check this Hackathon Guide for more info on Challenges, Resources, Data Sets etc

When we need you:
Please check with the school you signed up to volunteer at

DESIGN THINKERS

If you have knowledge of human-centered AI, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), we need you.

In this role you will guide young participants in the design thinking processes following and during a workshop and help them choose the best prototyping tools for their product.

No code will be developed until a problem is researched and fully understood and your role would be to help them to agree on the challenge, define a clear problem by research and discussions and do market research to validate/invalidate assumptions.

Please check this Hackathon Guide for more info on Challenges, Resources, Data Sets etc

When we need you:
Please check with the school you signed up to volunteer at

ETHICISTS

Ethicsis important and should be taught alongside coding and computer science at school and at Uni - let's teach our kids how to develop code responsibly, shall we? And let's make sure the technology is only harnessed and used as a force for good.

Please check this Hackathon Guide for more info on Challenges, Resources, Data Sets etc

When we need you:
Please check with the school you signed up to volunteer at

ENTREPRENEURS

Some knowledge of business models, pitching and marketing - your expertise will be vital throughout the building process, particularly when teams will be finalising their pitch decks to post on Devpost for Round 1 judging (deadline 24 May) and getting ready for the demo and presentation in front of judges at Cogx2019 on 12 June.

Please check this Hackathon Guide for more info on Challenges, Resources, Data Sets etc

When we need you:
Please check with the school you signed up to volunteer at

More info on the competition: http://bit.ly/teensinaicogx

Hackathon Guide: https://teensinai.com/hackathon-guide/

Sign up as Mentor here: https://www.founders4schools.org.uk/partners/teensinai/leader/

Join the Slack channel to help remotely: http://bit.ly/teensinaimentor


A quarter of women feel that a lack of confidence is the biggest stumbling block when returning to work

RETURN TO WORK

A quarter of women feel that a lack of confidence is their biggest stumbling block when returning to work, according to a new study.

The Confidence Gap Report, conducted by Tech Pixies, looks into what the impact of taking a career break has on women's confidence, career prospects, job satisfaction and earning power.

The report found that nearly half of the women surveyed said they felt a career break had damaged their career. The research also found that 45 per cent of women said they felt less anxious at work if they could lose their self-doubt about their ability; and 33 per cent of women feel anxious that colleagues are more up to speed with digital skills than they are.

Taking a career break has a negative impact on a woman’s take-home pay too with 42 per cent of women claiming they earn less now compared to when they went on a career break, including 22 per cent earnt up to £10,000 less a year, 16 per cent earning between £10,000 to £20,000 less a year after their career break and four per cent earning over £20,000 less a year.

Overall, this has left women returners feeling financially insecure and worried for their future with 37 per cent of women saying they feel less confident about their long-term earning potential.

The research also found that women are also coming up against issues once they return to work - 29 per cent of women felt side-lined or undervalued; ten per cent said they were doing work that they would describe as 'beneath their ability'; and 47 per cent of women described their current work simply as 'a means to an end'.

Speaking about the findings, Joy Foster, Founder of TechPixies, said, "It's very clear from our research that more needs to be done to ensure that women are not negatively affected by taking a career break."

"As our Confidence Gap Report details, a big part of this is building up women's confidence and digital skills ahead of their return to work."

"And this is exactly what TechPixies sets out to do, enabling women to return to the workplace with confidence and practical skills that will give them more job satisfaction, better pay and appropriate recognition in the workplace."

"With our report we're encouraging women to upskill themselves, which will in turn give them confidence so that they can go on to have fulfilling and stimulating careers following a career break, something we can all aspire to have in the 21st century thanks to the technology available to us all."


encouraging girls in to tech, STEM featured

Bring the women back to tech

encouraging girls in to tech, STEM

Eleanor Bradley, Managing Director Registry & Public Benefit

At Nominet, we talk a lot about the Domain Name System (DNS), or the ‘telephone directory’ of the internet.

This system allows users to type in memorable words that link them to the corresponding IP address, avoiding the need to remember a long and complicated string of numbers. The DNS is critical and underpins the whole of the internet, but did you know that, in the early days, the domain names were largely managed by a woman?

Elizabeth Feinler, an American information scientist, led the Network Information System Centre at Stanford Research Institute from 1972 to 1989, the place that managed the use of domain names in the years before registrars. In her time, women represented a far greater percentage of the technology workforce than we see today. In the US for example – something of a global hub for early technology – the number of women in computing tripled from 1971 to 1985 to become 38 per cent of the labour force.

So where have all those women gone? Today, technology is a male-dominated environment. Women make up just 17 per cent of the technology workforce in the UK, with similarly uninspiring percentages across the world. More worrying is that too few girls are studying STEM to offer any hope of a future pipeline; just 31 per cent of STEM undergraduates are female, many of whom do not specialise in technology.

What is turning girls away from studying STEM, and from technology in particular? Recent PwC research, that surveyed over 2,000 A Level and university students, found that only 27% of women would consider a career in tech and a mere 3% think of it as a first choice. This is despite there being no evidence that females lack the appropriate skills for a role in the tech sector or appetite for the healthy salaries available to them.

There are various theories for the lack of interest, from the ‘macho culture’ that has grown up around technology roles putting women off, to the proliferation of video games that mostly appeal to boys, shutting girls out from an early age. Jacqueline de Rojas, president of techUK and a vocal supporter of diversity, recently mused on Desert Island Discs that the marketing of computers to men – and the fact they were designed by men – could have gradually excluded women from the technology revolution. This can even be accurate at a literal level. For example, some research suggests the virtual reality experience tends to make women feel sick, but not the men who largely designed and tested the technology.

Some have spoken about girls’ lack of confidence dissuading them from pursuing school subjects wrongly seen as hard, such as maths, science and technology. Studies have shown that girls start to lose their self-esteem from as young as 12 years old and begin to believe that ‘brilliance’ is a male trait from as young as six. There is also a clear lack of female role models in the technology sector; the PwC research previously mentioned found that only 22 per cent of all students could name a famous woman working in tech.

Thankfully, both industry and Government are now proactively working to turn the tide and tackle all these issues. For example, the National Cyber Security Centre runs a CyberFirst Girls Competition while various organisations – such as Girls Who Code UK – offer programmes that work with school-aged girls to equip them with useful skills and nurture an interest in technology.

Further up the pipeline, the Tech Talent Charter is working with organisations in the technology industry (including Nominet) to promote gender diversity across their businesses. It can be quite easy to make changes, such as considering the wording of job advertisements carefully to attract female talent and trying to create a work culture and environment that is more appealing to women. The organisations who sign the Charter share best practice ideas and support one another to improve their ratios.

Encouragingly, many women working in technology are proactively trying to be more visible too. This is something that Nominet gets involved with: our CISO, Cath Goulding, delivers talks about her work in schools, while we use our corporate blog to tell the stories of the talented women we have in the workforce. These blogs emphasise our employees’ different career paths, backgrounds and skills to demonstrate the diversity of opportunity available in the technology sector.

We have also been involved in a Takeover Challenge during which students ‘take over’ a job for a day to learn more about a potential career. In November, we welcomed 11-year-old Izzy Kenny into Nominet to spend the day with Cath. It was an interesting experience for both, and Izzy was adamant that “more women need to be doing this sort of role”. Events like this are great opportunities to offer young people a glimpse into the realities of a role during their formative years, allowing them to keep their options open and ensure they don’t discount industries such as technology.

While there is no silver bullet, the only way to make progress towards gender parity is to keep it in the public domain while committing to do all we can, in whatever capacity we can, to consciously make a difference.

It is only by working together that we can we have any hope of changing the status quo and unlocking a valuable talent pool that the technology sector sorely needs. It’s time to start bringing the women back into technology to finish the great work they started and continue the legacy of inspiring women like Elizabeth Feinler.

Eleanor Bradley mid 1About the author

Eleanor Bradley is COO of Nominet, the technology company known for running the .UK internet infrastructure and which is also the founder and funder of the charitable foundation Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder.

Eleanor has over 20 years’ experience in the internet industry and in her current role leads the teams responsible for commercial activity related to Nominet’s registry business as well as the company’s corporate services.

In 2016, she was named as a role model in the category of Board Level & Senior Executive of the Year at the Women in Business awards, and is a keen champion of women in IT and advocate of encouraging more girls to explore STEM subjects. She sees the internet as a force for good and, as Nominet is a public benefit company, is developing a number of projects designed to empower and upskill young people to help future-proof the hiring pool of the UK’s digital economy.