London, 24th June 2015 – The 30% Club has launched five new key initiatives for women and girls in technology. The five programmes – created by the 30% Club’s Technology Working Group, led by Melissa Di Donato, VP EMEA and APAC at Salesforce – are intended to achieve better gender balance at all levels of organisations. All initiatives will have a component that is dedicated to inclusion, access and unconscious bias across the UK.
The programmes, which embody the 30% Club’s “school room to board room” mentality of nurturing female talent from an early age, will tackle a number of issues that face women in the tech industry, including stigma around entering science and tech sectors and help in setting up tech companies from scratch.
The launch of the new initiatives was designed to coincide with last week’s London Tech Week. Speaking at the ‘Importance of Diversity in Tech’ evening networking event in London on 17th June, Melissa Di Donato said: “There is a digital desert in the technology industry and not enough skilled workers to fulfil the needs of companies and institutions around the world. By encouraging women and girls to enter more technology-led careers, we are working to plug the digital skills gap. Research has also shown that an increase in diversity within the workplace leads to increased profitability for a company – we hope the encouragement of women to enter STEM-led careers will consolidate that trend in the tech industry.”
Speaking on the STEM initiative, which will seek to encourage young girls into science-led subjects at school, Melissa Di Donato added: “One of every three girls in the UK gets made fun of for going into a STEM area of study. For the 30% Club this is an alarming statistic. We will be focusing on a programme to ensure that girls are encouraged into STEM in two key streams - one for 11 - 14 years old and one for 15-21 years old. This will come in the form of coding events; mentoring programmes; incubator organisations; modern muse programming and competitions.”
The Technology Working Group of the 30% Club works to increase female representation on the boards of technology companies. The group includes representatives from a number of major technology organisations including: Brunswick Group, Cisco, Citrix, Misys, TechUK and vmWare.
The Annual London Tech Week is seven days of face-to-face events celebrating London’s global position as a hotbed of tech innovation, business successes, entrepreneurship and creative talent. As well as hosting the ‘Importance of Diversity in Tech’ networking event, the 30% Club ran an ‘Advocating Change’ event at the House of Lords on 15th June at which Baroness Lane-Fox, founder of Lastminute.com and previously the UK government’s ‘Digital champion’, addressed the House on the topic of gender diversity in technology.
The five initiatives launched by the 30% Club are as follows:
- ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths): A program to ensure that young girls in schools are encouraged to study STEM subjects.
- ‘Connect the Dots Initiative’: Dedicated to connecting all the tech programs/ initiatives and leaders which currently exist in the UK in a useful way.
- ‘Inspire and Maintain’: A collaboration with TechUK, amongst others, created to inspire women to stay in, and grow, their career in tech. With the rate of women leaving tech outpacing the women being recruited, this initiative also seeks to get women back into the field after a period of time away.
- ‘Entrepreneurs’: Focus on recruiting, inspiring and motivating women to start tech companies.
- ‘Executive Women’: A platform for highlighting the success stories of female leaders and making them more visible to those who aspire to be like them.
For more information, please contact:
Jamie Brookes: (+44) 020 3128 8529/07769 900 417
Georgina Whittle: (+44) 020 3128 8528
Gay Collins: (+44) 07798 626 282
Francoise Higson, Newton Investment Management