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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: LEEDS BRIDGING THE GENDER GAP!

Thursday 8th March 2018
Happy International Women’s Day!

We’ve spoken a lot in the past about how there is a significant gender gap being experienced in the digital sector with men out-numbering women.

Having read a lot of articles today about inspiring women, it’s refreshing to see the digital gender gap being addressed so frequently and celebrating the women making waves in challenging the gap in the industry, as well as motivating and inspiring more women to join the industry!


(Photo Credit - Trinity Leeds)

Leeds power women!
Leeds is making a name for itself as being a one of the most vibrant, collaborative tech hubs in the UK, with many projects and initiatives in place to drive more women into the tech sector.

Stats for Leeds showed that there are currently over 20 women in Leeds who are leading businesses with more than 1 million pounds worth of revenue. 13 of these women are lead businesses that are experiencing growth by 20% with some experiencing growth at an impressive 50%. Many of these companies pioneered by women, are technology-focused.

CEO of Panintelligence and Founder of the Lean in Leeds group Zandra Moore recently commented on Women In tech around Leeds in an article with the Yorkshire Post: "The growing number of technology companies is also leading to more opportunities in Yorkshire, she added. “There is a huge amount of female talent in Leeds in the technology sector. We have 226 women in the Lean In group in Leeds and I want to raise the profile of Leeds as a tech hub for women. “There is a female leadership community, with networks such as Forward Ladies, Lean In Leeds, SHE Does Digital, and WISE (a campaign for gender balance in science, technology and engineering) bringing women together as a peer support network.”

Leeds Initiatives
In recent years we have also seen initiatives such as the Leeds Digital Job Fair tackle the skills gap being felt in the digital sector in Leeds, as well as giving companies in the region a platform to showcase the exciting positions that are available to both men and women.

Leeds Digital Festival is a celebration of all things digital in Leeds and holds numerous events discussing how to get more women into the industry and celebrating those women who are already driving digital innovation in our city. (Browse the events schedule for women in tech events at this year’s festival here.)

These initiatives along with everything else we’ve mentioned got us thinking, could Leeds really lead the way in closing the digital gender gap in the UK?

Well, we think yes! And we’re not alone.

In an article by the Yorkshire Evening Post it was highlighted how Martha Lane Fox (Cross-Head Peer at the House of Lords and Founder of doteveryone.org.uk, an organisation focusing on the building of digital skills in the UK) believes Leeds could definitely be the driving force in getting more women into tech in the UK. 

Helen Woolastan (Chief Executive of the WISE campaign which aims to get one million more women into the UK’s science, technology, engineering and maths workforce) says that 30 per cent of Sky’s new recruits in Leeds are female, which is nearly double the demographic in the Information and Communications Technology sector’s 17 per cent. “We want to make sure the message gets out to women, girls, families and teachers there are some real opportunities here in Leeds that pay good money and have good prospects.”

Marta Raper Projects Manager at NHS Digital in Leeds and winner of Editor’s Choice award at this year’s Women in Tech Awards says “Leeds is fast becoming one of the UK’s top digital cities, which means there are lots of job opportunities for women in and around this area. 

NHS Digital is very supportive at helping women progress, although like many other organisations there can be more men than women in senior positions. There is still probably a level of conscious or unconscious bias towards men in the tech sector, but tech leaders are becoming more aware of that bias and taking measures to attract more women to the sector. 

I certainly feel that NHS Digital is leading the way and I was delighted to receive the Editor’s Choice honour at the Women in IT Awards as it not only recognises the hard work myself and my team put in, but also reflects the opportunities NHS Digital extends to those wanting to challenge themselves and make a difference to people’s lives.” (Read more here.)

With Leeds leading in driving and supporting future female tech talent and championing equal digital opportunities, it’s only a matter of time before we see even more female techies in our city and others who follow suit!

What are your thoughts? Is Leeds going to be a key game changer when it comes to closing the digital gender gap in the UK? We’d love your thoughts!

Tweet us @AmsourceTech or leave your comments below.

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