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News > Head's Features > Closing the Gender Gap in Tech - Our Shared Mission

Closing the Gender Gap in Tech - Our Shared Mission

Our Head, Carol Chandler-Thompson, discussed pressing issues surrounding the lack of women in computing fields publishing her thoughts in The Times. The gender imbalance in tech is an issue for all.

Our Head, Carol Chandler-Thompson, recently discussed pressing issues surrounding the lack of women in computing fields. As alumnae, this is a critical topic for us to examine as well.

Click Lack of Women in Computing to read the full article in the Times. Here's an excerpt:

Smartphones and computer keyboards are designed for male hands; Google's speech recognition software voice is 70 per cent more likely to respond to men's commands.

The World Economic Forum surveyed Linkedln users who self ­identified as possessing AI skills: 78 per cent of them were male. Our current gender-based approach to product design is disadvantageous to women and there is a real danger that algorithms are making our world even more unequal.

With the end of January marking the deadline to apply for university courses, it is stark that of the students enrolled in a computing degree at university in 2020-21, only 21 per cent were female, so it is no surprise that women account for a similar percentage of the tech workforce.

Dig deeper and you realise that social, educational and cultural issues play a huge part. At a recent women in tech event in Edinburgh, 100 schoolgirls were asked about technology. They said STEM was perceived as dull; it involves sitting at a keyboard all day a keyboard all day, is not taught well and they didn't see it as a career option. Uninspiring curricula and a paucity of specialist computer science-teachers, especially female ones, are exacerbating this.

Demand for digital technology talent in Scotland is strong; one in ten of all vacancies is in the tech sector, and it is forecast to grow. Without concerted effort, there will not be enough women entering digital roles to fulfil requirements.

Girls' schools, in which the uptake of Stem subjects tends to be far higher, can offer insight to help address the imbalance. 

The commercial world wants to support schools in this and we have been delighted by the willingness of women working in tech to give up their time for such events. There are also some initiatives being run by passionate individuals, such as Toni Scullion's charity, dressCode, but until the structural. Issues around teacher training are addressed this problem is going to endure.

Young women run the risk of being shut out of a huge global sector and the impact of this will be a tech-driven world designed for men. Scotland isn't providing enough "home-grown" digital tech workers, of either sex, to fill its vacancies. Work in teacher training and schools to make it a more attractive career option will not just benefit girls, but the whole of society.

At St George's, we recognize the power of all-girls education in promoting STEM engagement and opportunities. As a school, we are committed to addressing the gender imbalance in technology fields that still persists today.

By hosting recent events like our "Women in Computing" showcase that connected current students with real-world tech careers, we open up more possibilities for the next generation of women. As valued alumnae, we know many of you have drawn on the empowerment of your St G's education to pursue your own careers and passions. What role can our alumnae network play in working with the school to create a more equitable tech future for the students who walk these halls today?

From mentorships to internships and more - we believe our alumnae have essential wisdom and experience to inspire St G's students to fearlessly develop their skills and talents, including in STEM. We hope you’ll join us on this shared mission of expanding opportunities for all our daughters. Please reach out with your ideas and questions.

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