07 March 2023
International Womens Day 2023
A month to celebrate Women
March can be described as as a month to celebrate women. In the middle there is International Women’s Day with a theme this year of #EmbraceEquity. This year we are called upon to “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.”
There are also many other initiatives taking place such as the UN Women’s – Commission for the Status of Women #CSW activity. This year I am a UN Women UK delegate.
The theme for this year’s #CSW is – “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. This aligns with my own passions and beliefs.
Why the need for this day? Here are some of the issues that women and women working within tech have faced and continue to face:
- There is a gender pay gap. In short women are paid less than men.
- Lack of promotion opportunities
- Lack of suitable flexible working opportunities (it is possible to offer flexible working that meets flexible working criteria but has detrimental career effects). In short the opportunity needs to be fair.
- Women from under-represented groups are “missing” from the Tech landscape (BBC news)
The issue is much wider than women in tech, with issues such as reproductive rights, violence and abuse against women. Today I am addressing through a narrow lense of tech.
How do we address this?
One way to address this is through "men as allies". This means that men actively seek out ways to champion womens rights and have greater awareness of what is meant by unfair. For example, consider the examples used in class/meetings to ensure that they are inclusive. Ask questions of colleagues if unsure. Why have I addressed particularly men here? This is because, the support of the majority group in tech will help to shift the dial.
Questions for you!
Right now are you able to name 5 women working in Tech? Then are you able to name 5 women from under-represented groups working in tech? (Not teaching but tech as a whole). I have use the present tense here, as I am encouraging you to think of living role models. This is something that should also translate to the classroom/learning environments. Have a look around – what female representation is there of living female tech role models for our learners. Here are a few that could be included:
As a TechWomen100 award winner 2022, there are 99 other women that could be named here. So if you are looking for inspiration, please have a look at the website.
Play your part!
As educators, my question to you is - What have you done since last International Women’s Day to promote and embed activity that supports girls into STEM careers and to take up the subject at GCSE level and beyond.
Then - What are your forward plans toward realising a more equitable society?
Here are mine:
- Raising awareness such as through writing this blog post
- Always speaking about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at conferences and workshops
- Created a children’s book series – The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip - that has a central female character from an under-represented group with tech knowledge – this is a reflect of my own life.
- Sharing resources that support girls in to STEM careers and also that support colleagues who may not fully know where to find the support they need.
Some resources which you can use in the classroom are:
- Women in Computing TES Resources - Elizabeth Sparrow
- The Unsung heroines of the tech world by CAS Members - Rachel Arthur and Joe Arday
- Also encourage girls to get involved in STEM challenges
Together we can contribute to education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
For further reading here are a few sites:
#IWD2023 #EmbraceEquity #CSW67