Stop making chutney!

Yesterday I read a really interesting article on the BBC website entitled “What if there were more women in tech?”. It’s a good question. Would our future be changed?

Would the products we are using today be designed differently? Is there a gap in today’s technology that just isn’t being filled because the huge majority of software developers and ‘techies’ are men? Because the huge majority of developers are male, the starting point of any design or development is from a male perspective, and sorry guys, but in general (and of course this is a generalisation), empathy and the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes is not your strong suit.

A few months ago I was speaking at an event and complained to an audience that “women should stop making chutney and get into digital instead.” This is exactly the same theme. For some reason women are daunted by the apparently mathematically-biased rather male geeky side of technology and would rather get involved in products and services they can touch and feel. They are too reticent to put themselves forward and this is a weakness. My observation is that often, a female driver in business is to make a positive impact on a community, and/or to develop a career that will fit in with their family commitments.

Surely this is a great starting point for developing technology and products that suit the whole of humanity and not just half of it. I believe that if more women were in tech we would be solving many more deep-seated social problems and enhancing not just our own quality of life but especially for those who are vulnerable. I think the sector would be re-shaped around healthcare solutions, working out how to stem the tide of pornography available to children (and the rest of us who really don’t want it), product design for a range of shapes and sizes not just one-size-fits-all, cyber security in relation to online abuse and how to provide more support to the elderly and those who are ‘offline’.

So, let’s get more women in tech by playing to the strengths of both sexes and by the way that also means us girls being braver and making our voices heard and the guys learning to listen and act on the input.

Sue Nelson
Presenter, The TechTalk Show

 

Check out the BBC website article here.

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