who (could) run the world? girls!

'People ask me all the time: ‘What is it like to be a woman at Google?’ I’m not a woman at Google, I’m a geek at Google.

'And being a geek is just great. I’m a geek, I like to code, I even like to use spreadsheets when I cook.' These are the refreshingly honest words of Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, and former engineer at Google. 

Like all technology bosses, Marissa wants to inspire the next generation of coders, designers and engineers, particularly female ones, to work in the industry.  

Eurostat recently published a report that said women are still in the minority in technology. Of the 1.4 million people studying ICT across Europe, only 17% of them are female. 

There are better signs in Ireland where 18.9% of ICT specialists are women. The difference may seem small but is a step in the right direction. What more can be done to promote more women in tech?

Encourage students into tech.

Intel CIO Kim Stevenson said: “Often women don’t understand what options are available in tech fields - and that stops them.”

So how do we begin exposing females to the possibilities at a younger age? Connecting Women in Technology has launched a programme called ‘IT is not just for Geeks’, which aims to connect to the right audience. 

CWIT supports visits to local schools, which, this year, reached over 4,000 Transition Year students. 

"One of CWIT’s key target groups is to approach transition year students and inform them about the benefits and rewards within the technology sector. 

Teachers and, in particular, parents are key influencers in raising the profile and attracting more women to get involved at a younger age. 

Break down stereotypes.

Cindy Gallop, founder of the website MakeLoveNotPorn, said: “If you are brilliant at maths and engineering and science, then by definition you’re a nerd and a geek and not attractive”. 

If we are going to start seeming more females in ICT then it is really important to start breaking down the gender stereotypes at a young age. 

This can be done by using the visibility of key women in computing and technology to demonstrate that they are not exclusively male domains. 

Increase the number of women in senior roles.

According to a Reuters study, 30% of 450 technology executives said their companies had no women in leadership positions. 

Apple has 20% of women employees in technology; Google has 17% of women in its workforce, while Microsoft and Facebook have 16.6%, and 15% respectively.

If young girls do not see women sitting in executive roles, they have no role models to look up to or women in technology to aspire to. 

By addressing the issue at the top, we should see a champagne tower effect trickle through to the younger generations. 

 
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