Last Thursday, ZeroLight attended Accenture's annual Girls In Stem event. This is the third year running we've attended the event, aimed at school-age students around the UK, with over 500 girls attending at the Newcastle venue alone.
Attracting more women into technology careers is a key talent initiative for ZeroLight in 2018. The statistics around this subject paint a worrying picture, with the proportion of female computer science undergraduates continuing to fall (currently at 16% in the UK) and far fewer girls choosing to study computer science at GCSE level (20% of the total number of students).
This makes ZeroLight's attendance at events like Girls In Stem so important. The event is specifically aimed at 11 to 13-year-old girls, the age group where decisions around GSCE subjects and looking at potential careers becomes so important. Although we as a company won't see the benefit of this early stage interaction for many years, we believe that showcasing tech as a career to this age group will pay dividends in the future. As Sunday Times columnist Caitlin Moran pointed out on her ‘How to Build a Girl' book tour, "if 90% of coders are men, developing and owning the language of the future, women won't be part of the conversation."
As well as attending events like Girls In Stem, ZeroLight is keen to ensure that women will become part of that coding conversation in the future by running its own awareness sessions. Currently only approximately 10% of our total job applications come from women and we're keen to increase that number. Next month, we're inviting 50 female students from local schools down to our Live Works studio to talk about the variety of career options available to them and experience our award-winning VR applications first hand.
If the Accenture Girls In Stem event aims to give a large number of girls a taster of all sorts of STEM careers (with companies as diverse as Proctor & Gamble, Atom Bank & Virgin attending last week's event), our follow-up event next month has the mission to educate a number of dedicated tech enthusiasts about coding, design, QA and other potential tech careers. With talks and tips from the women that have already established themselves in the industry (at ZeroLight and other companies) and a digital coding workshop from Generation Code, the event promises to educate even more North East girls on the early stage skills they need to forge ahead with a career in tech.
The lack of female role models is a key reason that young girls often aren't inspired to pursue a career in STEM subjects. Here at ZeroLight, we're keen to highlight the talents of our own female workforce - from our COO to our Artists and Designers - to encourage others to make the leap themselves and understand that there really is nothing holding them back from developing a highly successful tech career.
If you're interested in entering the world of tech, check our current vacancies here.