Elissa Morris, e-business manager in the Isle of Man’s Department for Economic Development has been crucial in encouraging women on the island to become more involved in tech, and recently helped organise the island’s first mother and daughter tech event.
Inspired by the global ‘Girls in Tech’ movement, the event is part of a wider initiative called ‘Love Tech’, aimed at inspiring more young girls on the Island to pursue careers in STEM subjects.
E-Gaming and E-Business are thriving industries on the Isle of Man, and together contribute 28% to the Island’s GDP, making it more important than ever to encourage more women to enter the industry.
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Intrigued by this women in tech case study, Information Age further discussed this necessity of encouraging girls to study tech with Morris.
Why are you encouraging girls to pursue tech?
E-Business and technology is the future and it is slowly forming part of everything we do in our careers, and our day to day lives (both personally and professionally).
Despite the gender gap slowly closing, it is still very much a male-orientated industry and we need to ensure that half of our population doesn’t get closed off from the sector. We need to encourage diversity.
What we must emphasise is that there are far more creative jobs within tech other than just networking and hardware support. Many technical roles are extremely creative and rewarding. Look at web design or coding for example; where you create a webpage/application from scratch. Building it from the ground up and watching it develop can be extremely satisfying. My fear is that these careers often get overlooked by women, and this lack of awareness needs to change.
>See also: Changing perceptions: getting girls interested in STEM
We need to convey to young women in education early on that there are cool, creative jobs available where you work with new technologies and dynamic and interesting companies.
Why is it important to encourage girls to study STEM?
To introduce women into the world of technology we need to prepare them with the appropriate skills to all these spectacular career opportunities in tech. Encouraging women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a step in the right direction.
The skills learnt from STEM subjects will open the door to careers in technology. We need to give young women confidence that these subjects are not only exciting, but they are for both genders and not just for men. This will encourage more women into the industry.
>See also: Closing the diversity gap: challenge accepted
How important is diversity for businesses and the economy?
Having more women in the ICT and tech world will bring different ideas, different creative approaches and different outlooks on projects and emerging technologies.
It will also help bridge the skills gap in technology and inspire younger women to study STEM subjects and consider ICT as a career option.
There are more development jobs available than the number of IT developers right now, which is having a huge effect on the industry skills gap in both the UK and Europe. It has been reported that if we continue as we are, by 2020 women will hold just 3% of the 1.4 million computing industry roles available in the next three years. We have to try and change this statistic.