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This Thursday, it is International Women’s Day and I’ve been considering the global shortage of tech skills and the fact that in most countries, somewhere between 20-26% of tech workers are female. In New Zealand that number is only 23%.
We can complain that firms are not employing enough women, but it’s a much bigger issue than that. In New Zealand, only 36% of computer science students are female and a 2015 OECD survey found that only 3% of 15 year old girls in New Zealand showed an interest in a career in IT.
Aside from helping to address the skills shortage there are plenty of other reasons to aspire to having gender balance in digital roles throughout New Zealand – a range of roles, higher pay and economic benefits. The latest research finds that new companies with 200 percent or more growth, are 75 percent more likely to have a female founder.
Code.org have identified four ways to attract girls to try computer science – involve their friends, inspire with examples, fight stereotypes and show that tech is relevant for all roles from medicine to law and business.
In May, TechWomen’s ShadowTech Day aims to involve girls with their friends, partnering students with a women in tech for a day. It is an ideal opportunity to view first hand what working in tech is really like. This year, we will mentor about 600 girls, so if you are a parent, teacher or would like to be involved as a mentor, please get in touch.
To inspire with examples and fight stereotypes, TechWomen are also about to launch 100 TechWomen. This is an initiative that will profile a hundred New Zealand women in tech to showcase the diversity of roles and opportunities. In the coming weeks, we will be calling for expressions of interest, so please get involved.
Meanwhile, enjoy the week ahead and take a moment to celebrate international women’s day, acknowledging how far we’ve come since Kate Sheppard’s time and how far we still have to go.
Have a great week
All the best
Join NZSA on 13 March in Auckland for Creating Great Teams – How Self-Selection Lets People Excel. Attend the Future City Activator, 16-18 March in Christchurch.
Join EdTechNZ this week on 8 March for the webinar, Using Virtual and Augmented reality to Improve Learning. Attend a NZ Space Challenge briefing on 9 March in Christchurch.
Join the Trans-Tasman Business Circle delegation to Silicon Valley, 19-23 March. Their delegation to Israel is scheduled for 4-11 May and focuses on AgriTech. A cybersecurity and FinTech delegation is scheduled for June.
Soul Machine’s Greg Cross says New Zealand can’t afford to fall behind in the AI revolution. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley Kiwi, Alanya Van Dervort returns to New Zealand to discuss the benefits of AI at #AIDay2018.
Missed #DigitalNations2030? Check out on demand videos, including Te Aroha Morehu, Siim Sikkut, Frances Valintine, Vic Crone, Ian Taylor, Colin MacDonald, Graeme Codrington and Leigh Flounders.
Entries for the 2018 Hi-Tech Awards close today. Register for entrant events in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington when the finalists are announced on 28 March. Save these dates; Alumni event 24 May and the Gala Dinner 25 May.
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