YunoJuno-gender-gap-image

Shrinking the Gender Gap - Women in Tech report by YunoJuno

YunoJuno-gender-gap-imageHow can the tech world be a force for greater good in STEM roles?

Gender equality and the pay gap between sexes are two constantly recurring issues in today’s workplace. Whilst the environment might be dramatically different from half a century ago, the drive for equal representation and income parity remains at the forefront of the equality agenda.

YunoJuno, the UK’s most widely-used freelance management system, feels privileged to highlight, encourage and suggest pathways for a more egalitarian workforce. In fact they believe the freelance economy can provide incredible examples of equality and a non-biased value exchange to the labour market as a whole.

YunoJuno data reveals a 21% pay gap between developers in favour of men. Sadly, this divide is larger than any other discipline. Just 7% of women currently working as freelancers within the development sector in 2021, leaving a 93% gap.

YunoJuno spoke to several women in development and tech-focused roles about their own experiences and opinions on the matter. So, how can the tech world be a force for greater good in STEM roles?

STEM subjects at school

Of all the people YunoJuno had spoken to, only two had studied technology, maths or computer sciences at a younger age, with a further three choosing to learn their digital skills later on in their careers.

A Government report admits that the gap between younger women studying STEM topics at higher-level and employers hiring them comes from “an unmet demand in higher-education skills” from women in particular. Vanessa Ramos a Senior QA Analyst, feels the issue needs addressing earlier on for girls to really understand they have the same opportunities in the technology space as their male classmates: “If you’re trying to change the percentage of women in IT overall then that would need to start in primary schools by exposing young girls to STEM. From there, they’ll hopefully choose to do the IT degrees.”

Making your voice heard

All the interviewees had different opinions on this topic, some found no problems at all however others such as Sally Northmore Engineering Lead at iX, IBM said “sexism, inappropriate behaviour, and the low hum of tech bro culture persist”. Encouragingly, however, she also notes the major strides taking place within the industry: “there’s been a concerted effort to diversify conference panels. I remember when Software Engineer Nicole Sullivan was the only female developer panellist. Seeing her made me think— oh, I could do this as a career too, and be an expert.”

Mary Hughes, Freelance Front-end Developer shared some great advice:  “Don’t feel intimidated by a room full of men or even people who don’t look like you. Don’t ever worry about your gender, be strong and focus on doing what you love!  Stand your ground and believe in your own ability, do a good job and you will get the respect and the rewards you deserve. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions and remember making mistakes is a way we all learn.

How societal expectations play a part

Flexible working hours to accommodate school pick up/drop-offs for working mums, maternity leave, work from home, mentoring, connecting with other women in the company, equal pay to males, award recognition for women in IT, training, opportunities for on the job upskilling all need improvement.

In order to attract more women in all types of development roles, employers need to encourage flexible working environments. Vanessa Ramos, Senior QA Analyst

contests:  “flexible working hours to accommodate school pick up/drop-offs for working mums, maternity leave, work from home, mentoring, connecting with other women in the company, equal pay to males, award recognition for women in IT, training, opportunities for on the job upskilling”. These are just some of the ways employers can attract some of the best female talent.

Funding, grants and representation

It’s important that more people are aware of all options available, such as ‘coding boot camps’, that enable people to learn new skills alongside their current profession. Most women YunoJuno spoke to had re-trained or developed their technical skills later in life which again highlights the lack of encouragement from the education level but also, the incredible courage and determination that can be rewarded with new fulfilling career paths.

Kingsley Ijomah, Software Engineer and Founder of Codehance Bootcamp feels “employers can definitely make it more accessible to women by showing women on their posters and advertisements, and including women developers at the interview phase, so it becomes a norm for new developers to be interviewed by a female developer”.

As well as ensuring more companies hire women in development and tech roles, it’s also important for more voices to be heard from the existing community. Sharing the supportive communities within the tech industry is essential for promoting real opportunities that exist as well as educating those interested in the most apt pathways to success.

So, what’s next?

Currently, there are around 600,000 vacant tech roles in the UK. Larger tech companies can do more to open up more apprenticeship opportunities and internships for younger people. The UK’s government apprenticeship scheme is paid too which is something companies should be absolutely offering.

Initiatives such as elevating female voices within the industry, mentorship, access to training and upskilling are all part of a larger need to create more balance in the technology sector where females and other minorities are not only better represented but also given greater opportunities to excel.

Change begins with those in influential positions, irrespective of gender, using their standing to educate, inspire and act.Read the full report here: shrinking the gender gap


Female software engineer with projected code

What can be done to encourage and retain more women into STEM?  

Female software engineer with projected code

8th November marks STEM Day, which aims to encourage more people into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.

It’s a well-known and standing fact that women are underrepresented in STEM; women make up only 16% of engineering and technology graduates.

We asked female leaders of prominent tech companies to share what they think should be done to encourage women into and retain women in STEM:

Time for businesses to take charge

“Businesses and institutions need to change. There is no excuse in 2022 not to have balanced, diversified, and inclusive teams.” Liz Parnell, COO, EMEA, Rackspace Technology argues. “Teach unconscious bias as part of your company onboarding; and walk the talk every day with your policies, behaviours and level of transparency.”

Laura Malins, VP Product, Matillion agrees: “Greater transparency is important. Companies’ values need to be made clearer so women can identify an employer whose values mirror their own. That will give them the freedom and support needed to test out different areas of tech and find roles that provide them both with the right work-life balance, and the opportunity to add value to the business.”

“Businesses need to make a conscious effort to recruit employees from a diverse range of backgrounds.” Clare Loveridge, VP and General Manager EMEA, Arctic Wolf states. “This will allow businesses to attract more talent and develop more creative ways of thinking, contributing to the development of highly innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing leaders today.”

Siobhan Ryan, Sales Director Ireland and Scotland, UiPath remarks on how businesses can help their female workforce: “Businesses need to ensure women are inspired and able to contribute, participate and enjoy their roles. Mentoring programmes, community networks, and supported learning opportunities can help women to grow and succeed.”

Businesses need to carefully think about their approaches to diversity and inclusion strategies to make change, argues Pam Maynard, CEO, Avanade: “Fundamentally, there is an issue with the way some organisations approach DE&I, only paying it lip service to keep employees happy and avoid difficult conversations. It's time for change, and diversity needs to be tackled head on and from the very top.”

“Despite the sector having strong female leaders in the NHS, with the national CIO and CTO being women, we continue to overlook providing the right funding and support for women pursuing STEM careers in health at every level.” Katherine Church, Tech+ Director, Grayce offers an insight into closing the gender gap in health tech. “We need to increase the levels of VC and PE funding for Femtech and female founders so that women’s health issues and careers are properly addressed.”

Fostering opportunities 

“STEM Day comes as a needed reminder that we must continue to encourage girls and women to study STEM subjects and provide opportunities that will help them to develop skills in the space.” says EJ Cay, VP UKI, Genesys

Estella Reed, Head of People, Distributed argues that those not from STEM-oriented educational backgrounds should still be encouraged into STEM: “When government and businesses dismiss so-called “softer” or “mickey mouse” university courses and qualifications, they are limiting the diversity of their workforces and ability to access the best talent. Many of the best software engineers working in the industry, for example, come from arts and humanities backgrounds.”

Sue-Ellen Wright, Managing Director of Aerospace Defence and Security, Sopra Steria, agrees that diversity in recruitment is essential: “The challenge the tech industry faces is that, to increase creativity, it must improve diversity to further encourage a broader range of perspectives and ideas.”

“In a male-dominated industry, it is critical we continue to pursue diversity of thought, especially as we seek to apply the “digital” truths we have learned from the past thirty years or so.” Caroline Vignollet, SVP Research & Development, OneSpan gives her view on the importance of diversity in tech. “For example, as we explore new technologies and digital experiences, such as in web 3.0, we are doing so with all the available talent, understanding and approaches at our disposal.”

Accessibility is key, Jamie Lyon, Vice President of Strategy and Development, Lucid Software notes: “It's important for STEM-related educational and career development opportunities to be more accessible to women. These build a foundation of interest and technical skill sets for women wanting to enter the tech industry.”

Women need to be able to access the same educational opportunities as their male peers to succeed. “Recent research shows that men are over a third more likely to receive digital upskilling than their female counterparts.” Mairead O'Connor, Exec for Cloud Engineering, AND Digital  observes. “This needs to change.”

For Poornima Ramaswamy, Chief Transformation Officer, Qlik, this education should include data and digital skills: “We must ensure girls are taught relevant data and digital skills at an early age to prepare them for the increasingly data-centric world we now live in. Our research found business leaders and employees alike predict that data literacy will be the most in-demand skill by 2030.”

The importance of self-confidence

Najla Aissaoui, Talent Acquisition & HR manager, Venari Security states: “For girls and women looking at a career in STEM, never underestimate your power and skills. Don’t be afraid to try and fail, just make sure to learn from your failures.”

Pantea Razzaghi, Head of Design, Automata encourages women to not bow down to pressure: “For women in STEM, it can feel like there’s added pressure to succeed and even outperform, as the industry is still very much male-dominated. However, often we are our biggest critics. My advice for young women early into their science and engineering journey will be to not dwell on mistakes for too long. Mistakes are a critical part of scientific discovery – that’s how innovation works.”

“My sincere advice; don’t listen too much to what others have to say about you or your ability to thrive in this sector.” Renske Galema, Area VP, North EMEA at CyberArk concludes. “Follow your own mind and find the fun in continuous learning.”


Women on a desktop

Gender gap in STEM subjects remains high

Women on a desktop

Sarah Gilchriest from tech startup Circus Street on STEM Day and the crucial role businesses can play in getting more women into tech.

Despite receiving a lot of attention in recent years, the gender gap in STEM subjects remains high. Only around 35% of graduates are women - a figure that has remained largely unchanged for the past five years. When you break it down to subjects such as computer science and engineering and technology the statistics are even worse - 16% of graduates are women. STEM Day is the perfect time for us to reflect on why there is such underrepresentation and consider how we can do more to redress the balance. What is clear is that the current approach isn’t working.

The lack of women taking on STEM subjects is cited as the number one reason there is such a gender imbalance in the UK’s tech industry. Only one in four people who work in the startup scene are women, with the number of female tech CEOs and founders depressingly low. There is an element of chicken and egg. How can young women and other underrepresented groups see themselves pursuing careers in tech or engineering if these industries look overwhelmingly male and white? On the other hand, how can we address diversity issues if there aren’t enough qualified people?

The reality is that we all make incredibly important career choices, usually without realising it, at a very young age when we choose what subjects to study in school. In fact, the factors that influence our choices are often engrained at an even earlier age. I’ve recently had first-hand experience of this when I talked to my 13-year-old daughter about what career she might like to have. She has already made many sweeping judgments about what she does and doesn’t want to do. In all likelihood she will change her mind as she learns more, however, many young people stick to their guns or simply do not learn enough in time to challenge their own decisions. Consequently, a lot of people end up set on certain career paths in their teenage years. By the time we realise what we actually want to do it can seem too late or difficult to change course.

However, blaming the education system isn’t going to solve the problem nor is it the full story. There is actually a lot more businesses can do to improve diversity and consequently encourage women and other underrepresented groups to study STEM subjects with a view to working in the tech industry. A major way this can be achieved is through a nationwide upskilling scheme.

Upskilling offers people a second chance to develop their career in the direction they want without the cost and impracticality of going back into full time education.

People can be guilty of thinking of upskilling as simply learning a new trade. It’s not just that - it’s about giving people the skill sets, mindsets and behaviours that they need to develop a huge range of skills applicable to different circumstances. It’s a continuous and nuanced process. We aren’t necessarily talking about training legions of fully-fledged data scientists, for example, we’re saying that we need to give everybody basic data skills so they can apply this knowledge to their own professional circumstances. These individuals may go on to learn coding, marketing or IT skills that combine to make them a highly skilled worker in their field.

In essence, through upskilling, individuals can replicate the core skills businesses look for from STEM graduates. If we applied upskilling nationwide via businesses we would give everybody an opportunity to develop into the careers they want. It will inevitably mean more women and other underrepresented groups will be able to get into the tech industry. If young students see people that look and sound like them in the tech industry they will be more likely to consider it a real option and choose subjects to meet that ambition.

Sarah GilchriestAbout the author

Sarah Gilchriest is Global COO of Circus Street. For the past seven years she has helped to lead the international expansion of Circus Street. She originally joined as a marketing consultant in 2016 and in the time since has overseen Circus Street expand five times larger to support a range of global companies including Nike, Adidas, Hershey’s, P&G and Coca Cola.

If you would like to find out more about Sarah you follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.


gender-equality-featured

Shining a light on the equality problem in STEM this Ada Lovelace Day

gender equality

By Industry Experts

Not only are education institutions seeing a continued low proportion of women opting for STEM subjects and ultimately taking up roles in these fields, but a recent report has revealed more than half of women in the tech industry leave by a mid-point in their career.

This is double the rate of men and due in part to weak management, a lack of perceived opportunities, and a poor work-life balance.

Ada Lovelace Day presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the personal experiences of women in tech and hear what they think companies must do to encourage greater equality in the workplace.

Natacha Robert, Divisional Finance Director, Civica, explains that studying STEM gives you the best foundation for your future career. “In my current job as Divisional Finance Director, my STEM background and knowledge has no doubt informed many of my leadership decisions, resulting in more scientifically grounded and logical decision-making. I found that having a STEM background has given me a better understanding of my peers’ specialities, related to software development and system architecture. I firmly believe that studying STEM subjects equips you with problem-solving skills and teaches you how to apply knowledge and skills to real-world professional challenges, giving you the ability to maximise results.”

But according to Lindsey Kneuven, Chief Impact Officer at Pluralsight and Executive Director of Pluralsight One, there is still a long way to go. “Despite the increased awareness around STEM’s gender imbalance, the problem is systemic. According to a recent UNESCO report, women represent just 35 per cent of STEM students globally. We must accelerate the pace of change to achieve gender equity and ensure the voices, expertise, power and perspectives of women are included to help shape the future.”

Esther Mahr, Conversational Experience Designer, IPsoft, echoes this. “When I look around at industry gatherings, among a sea of engineers, developers, program managers, business analysts and service delivery heads, I still see too few female faces. And it’s not just a lack of female representation – we are a rather homogeneous industry.

“While one day is a good start to creating awareness, more needs to be done to encourage girls to take up STEM subjects. As technology – and in particular AI – becomes an integral part of our world, we have to equip younger generations with the necessary skills they will need to be successful in their future working lives.”

Barbara Schretter, Team Lead Data Science, Celonis, agrees that, it’s important to encourage more women of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels to explore working in technology. “Hopefully by making them more visible, the next generation of female technology professionals can find role models and become inspired to pursue a career in technology.

“It’s a good idea to involve companies in such projects as there will be more and more people needed in tech in the future,” explains Schretter. “The sooner young people start with coding, the better it will be for their future careers. Even if they don’t programme on their own, to have a basic understanding of coding can’t do any harm. Having companies involved in such projects might also help them get excited about building their own scripts or solving various problems through scripting.”

But, while the number of girls studying STEM subjects has risen, “we need to ensure we continue to highlight more role models and the opportunities technology presents for girls’ and young women’s future careers,” explains Jayne Stone, Chief Marketing Officer, Vuealta

“As business leaders, we need to make an active effort to work in collaboration with schools, colleges, parents and media, to ensure girls can learn about these role models and feel confident and equipped to study STEM subjects and hopefully, a career in STEM. We also need to broaden our role models to make it clear that a career in technology doesn’t mean you’ll be confined to one discipline, and it doesn’t necessarily require qualifications in STEM fields.

“From example, Vuealta enables its customers to transform their business planning and supply chain operations through the use of technology, but you don’t have to necessarily be an expert in IT to work within this industry.”

As explained by Joanne Warner, Head of Customer Service, Natterbox though, there is still a cultural change needed within the workplace as well. “It was only after I had my second child that I felt that my gender was at the heart of an issue at work. Some of my management and colleagues thought that my commitment and motivations within the workplace had changed. But this only made me even more determined to prove that work ethic is not defined by gender or children. Everyone will always come across workplace challenges, but I enjoy sometimes having to prove myself – it’s what keeps us engaged with our work and motivated to push forward.

Warner believes “we need diversity to thrive and evolve, so it’s vital that businesses and education organisations continue to promote all opportunities as equal. Spending time and investment in understanding people’s motivations and strengths can produce the most innovative and loyal employees or students.”

Lori MacVittie, Principal Threat Evangelist, F5 Networks thinks “there is a tendency to dismiss women in technology that aren’t in a hands-on role, but we need to support and promote all women in the technology industry because ultimately not everyone that wants a slice of the tech world wants to sit and code all day.

“Fundamentally, STEM has a brand problem and there is a stereotype of the type of women who work in STEM roles. We might think of introverts and people that wear all black and no heels, but that’s just not the case! Whatever kind of woman you are, what you wear or what personality you have, is irrelevant. There’s a role for you.”

Kneuven concludes, “now is the time for companies to prove they are not merely interested in rhetoric but are committed to achieving lasting change in the STEM industry within our lifetime. We must eliminate the barriers that prevent girls’ participation, radically disrupt our education systems and hiring practices to ensure true inclusion and inspire the next generation of talent to pursue their own promising STEM careers. It’s time for all leaders to evaluate how they can make a difference and move the industry forward with equal representation.”


Recruitment bias is holding the STEM industry back when it comes to inclusion

Front view of diverse business people looking at camera while working together at conference room in a modern office

Recruitment bias is holding the STEM industry back when it comes to inclusion, according to a new report.

The annual STEM Returners Index, a survey of a nationally representative group of more than 750 STEM professionals on a career break who are attempting to return to work or who have recently returned to work, found that recruitment bias was revealed to be the main barrier preventing them from returning to work.

In the survey, which comes at the start of National Inclusion Week, 37 per cent of participants said they experienced bias in the recruitment process due to their age, while 43 per cent of people who identified as BME said they had experienced bias due to race or ethnicity.

Female engineers are more likely to be victims of recruitment bias – 27 per cent of women said they feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to their gender compared to eight per cent of men.

STEM Returners is now calling for companies to do more to challenge recruitment bias within their own organisations to help the industry become more inclusive.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, is urging recruiters across STEM to update their processes and challenge unconscious bias, so this highly skilled group of people can gain employment and the industry can become more diverse and inclusive.

She said, “There is a distinct lack of diversity and inclusion in STEM industries – that is not news.”

“But there is a talented pool of professionals who are being locked out of roles, which is severely hindering efforts to be more inclusive.”

“The pool of STEM Professionals attempting to return to industry is significantly more diverse than the average STEM organisation.”

“Those attempting to return to work are 51 per cent female and 38 per cent from black and minority ethnic groups, compared to 10 per cent female and six per cent BME working in industry.”

“Companies need to do more to update recruitment practices, challenge unconscious bias and actively seek out diversity, which is proven to increase business success.”


stemettes

STEMettes

Stemettes is an award-winning social enterprise working across the UK & Ireland and beyond to inspire and support young women and young non-binary people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers (known collectively as STEM).

Our Mission

Engage, inform and connect the next generation of women and non-binary people into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) by showcasing a diversity of people working in STEAM .

Our Vision

All young women & non-binary people can make informed decisions about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM), so that women and non-binary people can be proportionally represented in the field.

Level Up Summit 2022

Don’t miss our Level Up Summit on 06 December, where we’re tackling the barriers for women in tech head on. Join us for keynotes, panels, Q&A’s & breakout sessions on finance, people management, negotiation, influencing skills, confidence building, building internal networks, maximising the power of mentorship, and much more. 

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Female College Students Opening Exam Results, A-Level, GCSE

A-Level Results Day: Girls in STEM remain outnumbered

Female College Students Opening Exam Results, A-Level, GCSE

Girls in STEM remain outnumbered, according to new analysis of today’s A-Level results.

Female students taking up STEM subjects has fallen at a quicker rate, decreasing by 0.7 per cent, compared to 0.04 per cent in male students. There have been significant decreases in ICT, Maths, Further Maths and Physics.

Overall, the percentage of students taking STEM subjects has also dropped marginally from 2021 – a 0.3 per cent decrease.

Positively, there’s been a 15.8 per cent increase in female students taking Computing in 2022. However, the percentage of girls taking Computing remains virtually unchanged this year.

Despite this, female students continue to thrive in the subject, with over half achieving either an A or A* grade

Speaking about the findings, Agata Nowakowska, Area Vice President EMEA, Skillsoft said, “While the technology industry continues to grow rapidly, a diversity gap remains.”

“Currently, women make up just 17 per cent of the UK tech sector, signalling little growth over the last decade.”

“It’s disappointing to see that this trend is set to continue with this year’s A-Level results showing the percentage of girls taking maths, further maths and physics has decreased this year.” 

“There are so many programmes aimed at getting girls interested in these areas.”

“However, we need to go further to challenge and eradicate the old-fashioned views that are still very much ingrained in the public consciousness.”

“With over a quarter of female students saying they’ve been put off a career in technology as it’s too male-dominated, schools need to challenge this perception by offering female students opportunities to learn to code, build websites or use robotic toys.”

Overall, girls received more top A-level grades, compared to boys, but the proportion of those achieving top grades has fallen since 2021.

37.4 per cent of girls received more top grades, compared to 35.2 per cent of boys. Overall, 36.4 per cent of pupils achieved A* and A grades. In 2021, 44.8 per cent of pupils were awarded A grades and above.

However, this year’s results still remain higher than in 2019.

This is the first summer exam series since 2019. The education body, Ofqual, is advising not to compare 2020 and 2021 results with this year, because of the different methods of assessment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, public exams were cancelled and replaced with teacher-assessed grades.


How to make STEM subjects gender neutral

Elementary School Science Classroom: Cute Little Girl Looks Under Microscope, Boy Uses Digital Tablet Computer to Check Information on the Internet. Teacher Observes from Behind, STEM education, gender neutral

There are numerous reasons why women aren’t as prominent in STEM roles as males and like many things in life, the solution is not black and white.

Often, the barriers that females face are complex and systemic.

But, one of the things that has always struck me about STEM subjects is the experience that many females have in their earliest years at school.

When I think about studying maths, science and technology at school, these were subjects that were incredibly gender-bias, from the teachers being mostly male dominated, to the role models and careers presented to us.

We can all remember in the height of the pandemic, my 8 year old told me he wanted to be a scientist so he could develop a vaccine to help people. It sounds trivial, but what really struck me was that he was able to see the direct impact that science and technology can have on our lives and connect himself to a career prospect. We know that younger generations care enormously about the impact that they have on the world and what more of an impact can science and technology have on our everyday lives?

Context based learning in STEM subjects is key, as this is critical to how young girls perceive STEM subjects.

A teacher who is able to connect a young girl’s love of the environment, for example, could show that girl early on how she might be able to work in STEM and fight climate change or deliver safe drinking water to communities, for example.

As is the way in many industries, young girls also need female role models to look up to: Buzz Aldrin, Albert Einstein, Elon Musk and Bill Gates are household names and while learning resources are definitely doing their part to include more females into the mix, there’s a lack of female scientists that mainstream society can name at the drop of a hat. A report from Education Services Australia makes a number of recommendations for making STEM subjects more gender-neutral and one of the key recommendations is reviewing the media that’s used for lessons. Males feature heavily in the representation of STEM roles, whereas a truly gender-neutral agenda would ideally include a diverse range of people and genders participating in STEM and show young girls that many women have paved the way before them.

I’m also a big believer in subtle changes. The same report makes a number of recommendations for making STEM learning environments more inclusive. The report notes that classrooms can be decorated with neutral objects such as plants and lights and also notes that gender-balanced posters are key as well. Interestingly, it also notes that many STEM products themselves could do with being neutralised, for example, looking at using primary coloured equipment.

Is there a quick fix or a cure for the issue?

No. As I’ve mentioned, there are many reasons why women don’t enter the STEM field, many of them complex and systemic. But, education is our first foray into the STEM field, so we can at least start off by giving females a better first impression.

About the author

Zeinab Ardeshir co-founded Pill Sorted, a personalised pharmacy service, nearly three years ago with the aim of disrupting the traditionally transactional pharma experience and instead delivering a compassionate, more relationship-focused experience.

The healthtech – which works with a number of NHS services to deliver medications – uses technology to get medication dispensed and delivered to patients in a timely manner, which in turn means that pharmacists are able to optimise their time consulting patients.

Zeinab holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and a Postgraduate diploma for Overseas Pharmacists from Aston University and prior to Co-founding Pill Sorted, spent nearly 11 years working as a pharmacist at Boots and Tesco.


How to celebrate International Girls in ICT Day

Teacher Helping Female Pupil Line Of High School Students Working at Screens In Computer Class

International Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the UN’s specialised agency for information and communication technologies.

Girls in ICT Days aims to encourage and empower girls and young women to consider studies and car​eers in the growing field of ICTs,​ enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.

International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April.

Over 357,000 girls and young women have already taken part in more than 11,100 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in 171 countries worldwide.​

Government ministries, national ICT regulatory authorities, ICT companies, academic institutions, UN agencies, and NGOs around the world are all encouraged to join the global effort and ​​celebrate International Girls in ICT Day.

So how we can encourage more girls into STEM?

Currently in the UK, women make up only 17 per cent of the technology workforce. This is statisticly lower than any other industry sector.

So how can we encourage more girls into STEM?

Start early

Currently only seven per cent of students taking computer science A-level courses are female. Further to this, just half of the girls that study IT and Tech subjects at school go into a job in the same field.

According to studies, girls are more likely to be put off taking STEM subjects at school, due to the gender stereotypes of ‘boy’s subjects’.

There are currently a number of campaigns aiming to tackle to gender disparity and to encourage more women into technology roles.

The Tech She Can Charter is a commitment by organisations to work together to increase the number of women working in technology roles in the UK. It aims to tackle the root cause of the problem at a societal level by inspiring and educating young girls and women to get into tech careers and sharing best practice across the organisations involved.

The Tech Talent Charter is a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater gender diversity in the UK tech workforce.

Tech She Can and the Tech Talent Charter are working closely together to address the gender imbalance in technology roles.

Alongside this, the WISE campaign calls for gender balance in scient, technology and engineering, from the classroom to the boardroom.

However, more work needs to be done at an early age to encourage girls into STEM and tech and to combat the stereotypes.

Showcase women in tech role models

By highlighting inspiring women in tech, girls can see what careers and achievements are open to them. WeAreTechWomen has showcased some awe-inspiring women as part of our Inspirational Profile series – below are just a select few examples:

Discover more inspiring women

Get involved

There are a number of women in tech charities and not-for-profits that aim to get girls interested in ICT and STEM. You can find out more on our volunteering page here.

Stemettes new logo featuredStemettes

Stemettes aim to inspire the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths(STEM) fields by showing them the amazing women already in STEM via a series of panel events, hackathons, exhibitions, and mentoring schemes.

All girls will be able to make informed decisions about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), so that eventually women can be proportionally represented in the field. So that we can have 30 per cent+ of the UK’s STEM workforce being female, as opposed to just 13 per cent.

TeenTech featuredTeenTech

TeenTech run lively large scale but sharply focused events to help young people, their parents and teachers understand the opportunities in contemporary industry. TeenTech is aligned with STEM – all activities are designed to help students understand the context for subjects they are learning at school.

TeenTech events across the UK with a supporting award scheme so students and teachers can take their interests further. Many events are deliberately sited in areas of greater social need and TeenTech encourages schools to bring mixed ability students. Each event brings together 10 students from 30/50 different schools and 30/50 organisations and universities for a day of challenges and experiments that are carefully timetabled.

Students are then encouraged to run their own projects to ‘make life better, simpler or easier’ with support from industry in the TeenTech Awards. These projects are structured so they are a valuable experience for every single student who participates, not just those who reach the final at The Royal Society or the winners who are invited to Buckingham Palace.

Code Club featuredCodeClub

A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11

CodeClub create projects for volunteers to teach at after school coding clubs or at non-school venues such as libraries. The projects they make teach children how to program by showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites. CodeClub volunteers go to their local club for an hour a week and teach one project a week.

Each term the students will progress and learn more whilst at the same time using their imaginations and making creative projects. Terms 1 & 2 use Scratch to teach the basics of programming. Term 3 teaches the basics of web development using HTML and CSS. Term 4 teaches Python and so on.


Deazy's All Woman Product Team (800 × 600 px)

Talking careers, challenges & advice for women in STEM with Deazy's All-Woman Product Team

Deazy's All Woman Product Team

Developer marketplace Deazy connects enterprises, VC backed scale-ups and Europe’s biggest agencies with high-quality development teams, handpicked to provide broad technical expertise and greater capacity and flexibility.

In this article, we take a look into Deazy‘s all-woman product team and get their views on getting women and girls into STEM, how they support each other; and their advice to their younger selves.

Let’s meet some of Deazy’s all-woman product team!

Meet Hayley Ransom, Head of Client Services

Hayley is Head of Client Services at Deazy, and has extensive tech and client services experience in her career. She joined Deazy from award-winning digital consultancy and app developer Mubaloo, where she came across Deazy when looking to outsource some of Mubaloo’s development work.

Hayley Ransome

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t and it still amazes me that I have ended up where I am. I love tech, but I’m not glued to my phone or social media and I love to step back from tech at the weekends. But I do like seeing technology make people’s lives better, which is what drew me in, and it is hard to get bored when there is always so much to learn.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Under-representation of women in tech is a challenge for those already in it. It impacts us in many ways, from unconscious biases in culture, working models and benefits of businesses, to the confidence women feel in their roles. I personally found navigating the bias around ‘female’ characteristics challenging. Being assertive was labelled as aggressive, taking the lead seen as bossy. It took experience, and exposure to some great people, to build the confidence to not let these biases hold me back from expressing my ideas and taking the lead.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I am really proud to work in a tech business with strong female representation – in my career it hasn’t been the case. I’m excited about the opportunity we have at Deazy to support women succeeding in tech and provide role models for women within this industry. Seeing is believing!

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

There needs to be more women in positions of leadership in STEM. With more women leading, not only would the pace of change to support women progressing in tech increase, but the number of women entering the industry would naturally rise, in line with the increase in visibility of women leading.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be someone people can count on to always take ownership and get the job done. Don’t let confidence hold you back, say yes to new challenges before your brain kicks in and tells you it’s not possible, then be humble with what you don’t know and ask smart questions.

Meet Andrea Savidge, Senior Product Manager

Andrea is a Senior Product Manager at Deazy, ensuring ensure products provide as much user and business value as possible. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner with 7 years’ experience in product roles across a wide range of consumer web and mobile apps.

Andrea Savidge, Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, all the time! But the plan has changed so many times – I think it’s really important to be flexible and adaptable as the industry evolves so quickly. There are so many roles now that didn’t exist when I first got into product. Earlier on in my career I would jump at any opportunity to learn something new and broaden my skill set, which I think has been really valuable in working out where I actually want to focus and what I’m really good at. No knowledge is ever a waste!

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

I’ve seen a lot of women be much more critical of their own skills, myself included. Although this is by no means exclusive to the tech industry, there’s always the fear that starting a family will set you back years compared to male colleagues, who still take much less parental leave than women. I don’t think I’m often aware of barriers being gender specific and I’m very lucky that at Deazy I work with a lot of men who are my biggest cheerleaders, but I’m always super conscious of proving myself in any new group of people, especially when I’m the only woman in the room.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I feel so lucky to be working in a team where everyone is so talented and passionate about what they do. Everyone is so encouraging. Our shared experiences and challenges definitely help us empathise and support each other.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

The range of tech roles and the types of skills needed are not very well understood. I fell into this career path by chance and even though both my parents have Computer Science backgrounds, while I was in education, I had no idea that a product-type role even existed, never mind that it was so well suited to my personality and skillset. I think a lot more can be done to promote tech career paths to women – it’s a fascinating industry with so much scope to make an impact.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never underestimate the importance of building relationships and never be afraid to ask for help.

Meet Sharon Parkes, Product Manager

Sharon is Product Manager at Deazy, having previously worked as a Product Owner at Barclays Partner Finance. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner and is experienced in refining and prioritising the product backlog and working with the development team and stakeholders to shape the roadmap.

Sharon Parkes_Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never. Before my first role in product I would usually move roles every six months whilst I struggled to find a career that engaged me. I returned from a career break travelling around South America and took the first job I could find within a call centre for a large bank thinking I would be there for six months as usual and ended up working my way up and staying there for nine years, the last three of which were in Product Management. If you asked me when I left University if this was what I would end up loving as my job, it wouldn’t have even been on my radar.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Within the industry and particularly in a previous role, I have often found myself being the only woman in the room. I had to prove myself and do it fast to ensure I was listened to and could keep my autonomy and decision-making influence within a project. Now I’m more experienced I can go into any room and feel comfortable leading and putting my views on the table from the start. However, it has taken me a long time and a lot of learning to get to a place where I feel like that.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I’m extremely proud of the team I work in and what we’ve achieved since we’ve been together at Deazy. Whenever someone has a problem, we will come together and skill share. There are no egos or dramas, and everyone is ready to make sure that we all do a good job. I’m especially proud when I see products we’ve helped shape together out in the marketplace or the continually celebrated success of our ever-growing Deazy Platform and the knowledge that these have all been created by an all-female team.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

I think we need to get away from this perception that working in tech is for people who are introverted and sit in dark rooms alone. There are a wide variety of careers and it’s the most collaborative industry that I’ve ever worked in. Ensuring job adverts have the right unbiased language within them and creating better shared parental leave policies would be a good start.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Think before you speak, but always be confident in your skills and decisions. Take the opportunities that come to you without hesitation.

Meet Ella-Jo Brewis Gange, Product Manager

Ella-Jo is Product Manager at Deazy, joining in October 2021 from Nuffield Health where she held the role of Digital Product Owner. She has worked extensively in the health and wellness industry, where she developed the change and stakeholder management skills that are so important to her role at Deazy.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I had high hopes that I’d just ‘get famous’ and that I wouldn’t have to worry about any of the planning. I was in an operational role and found myself filling a gap in technical understanding for internal products. I was then asked if I would consider joining their new product team, I didn’t even know it was an option.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Tech is massive, ever-growing, ever improving and always impressive. You don’t really sit down and think about how websites and apps are built or the work that goes into them until it’s part of your job. I have to remind myself that it’s ok not to know everything, and that the best tech teams have multiple people all leading their part of the puzzle.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

Working with our team is brilliant, we have such a strong group of people who have all come from different roles and have different experiences. When there’s a problem it’s discussed together, and solutions are worked through. I trust my team to always be there to build me up as I would do for them. There are no egos to worry about, we all have the same goal and work towards that as one.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

Make it clear that women and girls can be part of something really big. Just imagine saying you were part of the team that built your favourite app! That can happen and it’s actually pretty fun too… most of the time.

Don’t be afraid of any pre-conceptions that tech is for men – it’s most definitely not. The phrase ‘women in tech’ doesn’t need to exist, I am not a good female product manager, I am a good product manager.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust yourself. Quite often I’ve found myself thinking ‘what about this?’ or ‘how should that work?’ but not having the confidence to say it out loud in a room of colleagues. I would always be worried about being judged as being stupid or difficult to work with.

Ask the questions, as often other people are thinking them too.