PwC is one of nineteen organisations to pledge their dedication to tackling the issue of gender diversity in the tech industry, by signing the Tech She Can charter. Currently, a mere 15% of those working in science, technology, engineering and maths roles in the UK are female.

This follows PwC research undertaken last year and the government’s commitment to signing the Tech Talent Charter to boost gender diversity in technology-based roles.

Aims of the charter

Companies who have signed the charter have pledged to work with 9,000 UK schools to inspire, encourage and educate young women about opportunities in the technology sector. As part of the campaign, social mobility and access issues will also be tackled in a bid to make a career in technology feasible yo all young women. An emphasis will be placed on strong female role models already in the technology industry, something which Sheridan Ash, Women in Tech leader at PwC and founder of the Tech She Can charter, understands as key.

‘By working together we can reach more females at an earlier stage of their lives. We need to work harder to raise awareness about the exciting range of technology roles out there, in a sector that has the power to change the world.

‘Promoting visible and relatable role models is a huge part of this, as it’s hard for girls to aspire to be something they can’t see. There are many brilliant women working in technology roles right across the UK, from creatives and designers, to coders and data scientists. Technology is open to all and we need to get that message across.’

Before the launch of the Tech She Can charter, PwC surveyed 2,176 students back in 2017. And the findings served to shine an discomforting spotlight on the multiple facets that that constitute the gender gap.

Some of PwC’s key findings:

  • 27% of female respondents say they would consider a career in tech; compared to 62% of males
  • Only 16% of females say they’ve had a career in technology suggested to them
  • 78% of respondents can’t name a famous female working in technology
  • Only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice
  • Only 5% of leadership positions in the tech industry are held by women

The gender disparity in tech starts at school

Many of the findings point to a key opportunity to communicate with young women about technology careers while they are still in school, even before they’ve chosen the subjects they will study. Generally, it appears that more males study STEM subjects both at school and university, putting them in good stead to make a career out of these industries.

However, many young women want their future careers to be creative, innovative and want the chance to make real difference through their work. All of these can be found through a career in technology – however, somewhere this message is getting lost – leaving girls “with little understanding of what working in technology involves”.

By aiming to engage with young women from a younger age, the Tech She Can charter is a promising starting point by which real action can be determined and carried out. The significance of collaboration across organisations is equally a testament to how change can only come about by working together.

To find out more, download PwC’s complete report.

Companies chartering Tech She Can alongside PwC

British Science Association, Business 3.0, Digital Jam, everywoman, FDisruptors, Girlguiding, InnovateHer, JP Morgan, Modern Muse, money.co.uk, NatWest Markets, Sophos, Smoothwall, TechGirls, Tech Talent Charter, Tesco, T Systems, and Zoopla Property Group.

*All figures from PwC’s ‘Women in Tech: Time to close the gender gap’ research report.

 

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