Levelling The Playing Field: Women In Digital

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This post was written by Tom Channell, one of the contributors from the Social Media Week London global communications team, and originally appeared here

Social media week is all about creating conversations which enable us to become better marketers. Thursday’s first HQ event looked at one of the fundamental flaws of business, the lack of women in the working environment. I got a chance to speak with Sally and Alice from Girls in Tech London about how the landscape is changing.

What is Girls in Tech?

Girls in Tech are a global network seeking to empower women by providing them with more visibility. We were founded in 2007 by Adriana Gascoigne and have since grown to over 8,500 members worldwide.

What are your experiences of working in tech as a female?

It’s an amazing industry to work in. There’s been a steady increase in the number of women attending Social Media Week each year which shows that the landscape is really changing.

Women often have better interpersonal skills than men which is a huge advantage for client facing roles, in our Girls in Tech community we have many successful female engineers and coders who are able to create new innovative platforms and lead teams successfully matching tech and inter personal skills equally.

Do you think digital is one of the best industries to work in as a woman?

Certainly. It’s a pioneering landscape which is open to new ideas and creation regardless of gender. There used to be a perception that all people in tech are geeky guys but that’s completely changed. To be successful in digital you don’t need to be male, you need to be authentic, innovative and the courage to use your skill set confidently.

What still needs to change?

We need a meritocracy, people should get jobs based on merit not gender. You can’t control what anyone else is doing, so it’s important to focus on your own skill set and being excellent in all that you do.

Social Media Week invited us to attend the event for which we’re really grateful. As an organisation our goals are to encourage women in technology and give them more visibility. Social Media Week has sponsored former members to attend which has been great as well.

“Social Media Week has provided an insight into the world of virtual marketing, from targeting specific audiences to it’s impact on society, it’s such an amazing opportunity,” said Alice Parsons, student, blogger and content creator.

Schools also need to be more open minded when it comes to digital. I think there’s often a culture of fear that the internet is made up of trolls when in reality it’s full of opportunities for young men and women. We need to get more people coding in schools, and with new initiatives I believe it’s going to become a more essential skill set in the future. Individuals like Alice are an example of how it’s all changing.

What are your predictions for women in tech in the next 10 years?

I’m extremely excited and hopeful for the future. We’ll be looking at a different world in ten years where there’s a more level playing field. Businesses will need to collaborate more with women as they are recognised more and more as significant online consumers and influencers. I think women in tech will use their skill sets to not only to be great entrepreneurs, but also to influence social and political thought. I really do believe all things are possible.