From the Internet to mobile phones, technology enables us to connect with each other and the world around us in new and innovative ways. As technology becomes an increasingly essential part of every aspect of human existence, the ability to access, navigate, and shape technology is critical to women’s participation in all sectors of society. Yet there is a serious gender divide when it comes to technological access, literacy, and influence. Women and girls are missing, excluded, and dropping out – whether it’s online, in the classroom, or in the world of work.
Women make up 35% of the global workforce across all industries — but only 17% progress to leadership roles. More alarmingly, women hold only 12% of board seats and a mere 5% of CEO positions. In 2014, their representation in technology jobs at nine major Silicon Valley companies ranged from a low of 10 percent at Twitter to a high of 27 percent at Intuit. A recent Computer Weekly report revealed that the average percentage of women working in technology teams in the UK is 12 per cent – down from 15 per cent last year.
A global technology revolution is taking place, and if women and girls aren’t part of it, the future for women’s human rights is bleak.
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8th Acorn Aspirations in partnership with Ada’s List, WomenHackForNonProfits, WomenWhoCode and numerous other partners has organised a TEDx-style event at Google Campus, where female founders, entrepreneurs and software engineers have shared their journeys and stories with the mission to inspire the next generation of female tech entrepreneurs.
This was followed by a two-day hackathon/start-up style event, on March 12th-13th at Runway East, where teenage girls were inspired to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology, as well as attended masterclass workshops in Ideation, Wireframing, APIs, Prototype Creation, html/css, Ruby, GitHub, Digital Marketing, Branding, APIs, Lean UX and Business Model Canvas.
#AcornHackGirls was to unlock young women’s entrepreneurial potential by inspiring them to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. The purpose of this event was to equip young women with tools that would enable them to become change-makers and entrepreneurs of their own lives.
Some of the Judges include Eva Pascoe, Head of Retail Futures, Bethany Koby, CEO Technology Will Save Us, Jess Tyrell, Director of Connecting Tech City, Nancy Fechnay, Interim Director of TechStars, Wendy Devolder, CEO Skills Matter, Bindi Karia, Silicon Bank and Neeta Patel, CEO of New Entrepreneurs Foundation.
“These events are a great opportunity to get women and girls excited about tech. Digital skills are they key to many creative careers and by learning about computing, young women can open up a range of opportunities.” Jacqueline de Rojas – President, techUK
“Very inspiring to see some of the girls confidently talking about APIs and things they most likely didn’t know about at all at the start of the hackathon!“ Wendy Devolder – CEO, Skills Matter