Drive to boost tech gender balance debuts in Scotland

An initiative to address gender balance in technology roles has launched north of the Border, aiming to prompt a lasting increase in the number of women pursuing technology careers – and urging firms to signed up.

Claire Reid of PwC Scotland has seen first-hand how much work is needed to address the issue of gender balance. Picture: contributed.

The venture is backed by PwC, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Morgan Stanley who have teamed up to launch the Tech She Can Charter in Scotland, and believe that if the people working in technology roles don’t reflect wider society, there is a genuine risk that the products and technology advances will be biased.

The charter was debuted nationally in 2018 to tackle the factors behind the shortfall of women in technology roles and share best practice. It now has 130-plus signatories.

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The aim is that the initiative, which was launched in Scotland last night at PwC’s offices in Edinburgh, will encourage Scottish-based businesses to join forces to inspire more young women to pursue technology careers.

Tech She Can was created following PwC research finding that less than a quarter of people working in science, technology, engineering and maths jobs were female. Furthermore, only 27 per cent of women would consider a career in technology, compared to 62 per cent of men – and reasons cited for the gender imbalance included a lack of female role models.

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“We want to inspire and educate more females across Scotland to consider technology as a career option… we need businesses to sign up to the charter and I welcome other businesses to sign up and help create a better future with better opportunities for girls and young women.”

Wincie Wong, head of Rose Review Implementation at RBS, said: “Scotland is home to some of the sector’s leading businesses and this charter will not only play a role in helping drive gender balance and foster new opportunities but will help the sector attract more talent and build a sustainable, long-term future.

“By working together, we can encourage more girls and women to consider a career in technology and help the industry thrive.”

Siân Allsopp, executive director, enterprise technology and services at Morgan Stanley, said there is "abundant" evidence supporting the performance of diverse companies and teams.

As part of the charter, a schools-focused initiative will showcase careers available to them. The signatories believe that without co-ordinated action at school age onwards to create a sustainable pipeline of diverse tech talent, the UK could lose its competitive edge on the world stage.

Allsopp said the #TechSheCan initiative "is empowering teachers to ignite curiosity for a career as technologists in our younger generation.”