Back When I grow up, I want to be a woman in tech
The above statement remains true, and to some extent is already, but why was this never a thought that occurred to me when I was growing up? Throughout your childhood years, the age-old question of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ is a repetitive blub that we frequently found ourselves being asked. From toddler to adolescent, this was often prompted with ‘A teacher? A dancer? An actress?’ and a further array of mainstream media female associated job roles.
Yet somehow in 2020, there is a continuation of these behaviours. One could only but dream of a world where a young girl is encouraged to be an engineer, a developer, a product owner or an analyst. The number of women working in tech-based roles is progressively growing and our children of the future should be made aware of these opportunities too. How does a young girl aspire to be a software developer if she’s not even aware such a job role exists? By restricting the career opportunities presented to children, we’re simply making it harder for them to go beyond stereotypes and venture into a sector that excites and motivates them.
This rings true all the way through our schooling years, and even into higher education. Whilst studying English in my final year at the University of Nottingham, I was never incentivised or introduced to women in the technology sector, an area in which the soft skills of an organised English graduate could so easily be transferred to. Instead, I spent my final year persistently rejecting the perceived constraints that my chosen degree has offered me in everyone else’s eyes. Rejecting the stereotyped expectation of an English graduate to end up in teaching, I ventured to a Science Graduate Fair to discover the perfect business trainee scheme at a software firm. From which, the transferable skills gained during my degree, such as tenacity, analysis and independence, have supported my newfound love of working in the world of tech.
As a nation that relies so heavily on basic technology, it’s time we expanded our minds to the opportunities that sit within the world of software and remove any preconceived assumptions when it comes to the future careers of women. Instead, we should aspire for a curriculum that introduces all children to digital skills, cybersecurity, coding and artificial intelligence to reflect the ever-growing importance of technology in the world. Young girls of the future will inevitably be raised with and by technology, so it’s time to introduce them to all of the possibilities and encourage them to become Women in Tech.