St Dunstan’s College has hosted its inaugural Women in Tech Festival.
The festival, hosted in the school’s Learning Resource Centre, was aimed to break down the barriers and stigma surrounding women in tech roles, and demonstrate the variety of opportunities and pathways for students thinking about their future careers.
Head of digital innovation, Ronan Mcstravick, who organised the event, explained: “I have seen first-hand, how women are underrepresented in tech careers. There is a saying that ‘Diversity is being asked to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance’, so while we would all love for more girls to become interested in STEM, it’s not going to happen overnight. Policies, practices, and a positive working environment must be in place first, before we invite girls to be a part of that experience.
“The purpose of the Women in Tech Festival was to break down those barriers and lead the way in discussions surrounding diversity and inclusion and open a dialogue for girls to play a leading role in these discussions.”
During the festival, students listened to a range of keynote speakers including Zandi Nkhata, belonging, inclusion and diversity lead at Investec Bank, and Sonya Moisset, lead security engineer at PhotoBox. Students also had a chance to ask questions during Q&A sessions with Okurimono (Ese) Akpochimoraa who spoke about her road to a master’s in mechanical engineering at Kings College London.
We all need to become allies for women, to ensure the future of tech is an inclusive and creative industry and allows women to showcase their unique talents, without having to assimilate in a male-dominated environment – Ronan Mcstravick, St Dunstan’s College
There were also a range of workshops for students take part in. This included developing their own digital roadmaps and discussions with the speakers on being advocates for positive change at St Dunstan’s and beyond. Students also identified ways in which to aid the LGBTQ+ community and highlight neurodiversity, through the implementation of Neuro hubs in schools and organisations across the UK.
“Only 25% of jobs in tech are held by women in the UK and women hold less than 20% of leadership positions in the tech industry. These are disappointing statistics for girls at St Dunstan’s College to see,” Mcstravick added.
“It is evident that choosing a career in STEM isn’t something they would naturally consider, due to a lack of female mentors or role models. We all need to become allies for women, to ensure the future of tech is an inclusive and creative industry and allows women to showcase their unique talents, without having to assimilate in a male-dominated environment.”
The school plans to hold the event again in 2022.