More talents, greater diversityIn recent years, demand for IT professionals has been growing very fast worldwide. Yet, women make up only around 20% of the workforce. From a business point of view, it makes sense for companies to promote female participation: if more women pursue an education in technology, there will be a larger pool of talents to choose from. Another reason for ICT companies to attract more women to the industry is increasing workforce diversity, an important factor in workplace culture that has been found to lead to better products and services – and consequently, happier customers (which should be every company’s goal).
Coding: not just for boysToday, only a small number of girls select computer science or related studies as their academic pick. In my conversations with some very talented young women developers, I discovered that at the beginning of their academic career, they did not even consider computer science as a subject. It was only when they took a course in coding that a new world opened up for them, and they switched to computer science. Before that, they thought programming was only for boys that had been playing computer games from a young age! Now they know that being excellent developers has little or nothing to do with being interested in computer games. The International Girls in ICT Day can help break down the stereotype that IT jobs are just men’s jobs. On this day, girls have an opportunity to meet female role models in ICT companies and see with their own eyes the opportunities and friendly environment they can find in a real-life tech company.
The Day at Reykjavik UniversityThe Girls in ICT Day is celebrated with a different program in each country. In Iceland, Reykjavik University has been organizing the event from the start. All girls attending 9th grade (aged 15) in the capital area take part in a workshop at the university, and are then invited to visit an ICT company. When the first event was held in 2013, only 11% of computer science students in Reykjavik University were girls. Today, girls make up 28% of IT students at the university.
Meeting role models at LS Retail
At LS Retail, 36% of employees are women. As we always strive for fairer gender representation, this day is very important to us. This year, LS Retail participated in the event for the third time. The nineteen girls who visited us got the opportunity to meet role models in various IT roles, including developers, tester, scrum master and project managers. These women volunteered to meet the girls, and gladly took time from their busy day to give a fun and friendly introduction to our company and to explain what it means to work in technology. The day was both educational and fun, as the girls were challenged to use their analytical and problem-solving skills in various games. They were also introduced to coding – a great way for these young women to discover their own capabilities, and to learn that tech work can be fun. It was very rewarding to see both the role models and the students actively communicating and enjoying themselves in those activities. Who knows - maybe they will become coworkers in the future! We at LS Retail will continue participating in the Girls in ICT Day, for we believe that greater female participation in technology at all levels benefits not only our workplace, but also the whole ICT sector, and society as a whole. The women within LS Retail look forward to welcoming the girls again, with the hope to plant a seed for their future career choice.