We should celebrate women every day of the year but International Women’s Day, on 08 March, gives us a platform to share our own experiences and, I hope, start inspiring the next generation.
My real passion in this area is inspiring girls and young women to pursue an education and a career in technology. Tech needs a diverse and representative workforce, but this is simply not the situation today.
This lack of balance stems from our education system. Science and technology is just not high enough on the agenda to encourage people to consider those subjects. For example, in our current curriculum, you choose technology against cookery or needlework, not against your other science-based subjects.
That has to change. We have to get people more excited about science and technology at a younger age because it is such an exciting area of work that is shaping the world around us.
I also think it’s about the lack of accessibility of science and technology careers for working women. Beginning a family and having career breaks can have more of an impact on women, and technology advances at such a rate of knots. How, then, do we encourage people to come back into a tech career after having a break, and help them to attain the necessary skills and catch up?
We need to change the way we work in these industries to encompass women and the particular challenges they face.
When I entered into a career in technology, it was a very male dominated sector and early on I struggled to progress as I wanted to. Then, like today, there was unconscious bias in the workplace. People are only human and they gravitate to those similar to them, and who are like-minded.
Facing barriers to my progress, I thought, you know what, I will do my own thing. I set up my own business and I’m proud to say that today e-bate has a diverse workforce, and we’re all the better for it.
How do we make more progress and #EmbraceEquity, as the theme of International Women’s Day encourages us to do? I think it’s about people like myself, who have had that journey, coming forward and shouting about it. We need to tell our stories.
By talking about our journeys, in schools and through the media, we can inspire a new generation of female leaders in technology.
A Day in the Life of a Female Tech CEO
Watch a typical day with Leanne Bonner-Cooke in our short day in the life video!