Women in Technology WA - 2016 End of Year Event

Author: Brad Howard   Date Posted:13 December 2016 

On Thursday 8th December 2016 I was invited to the Women In Technology WA event at the Deloitte function centre in Perth. It was a privilege to be at the event with women who are serious about making significant change in the technology industry for all females. The Keynote speaker was the honourable Governor of WA Her Excellency the Hon Kerry Sanderson AO, who reflected on the insights gained from the recent Women in STEM Roundtable hosted at Government House. She spoke on improving the number of females entering the STEM/STEAM subjects but also the need for still much greater equality in numbers in senior executive positions within industry and government.

After absorbing her excellent speech I started thinking of the number of female teachers in the schools and looking at primary school in particular we find that nearly 90% of teaching staff are female. This balance I do not see as a problem. What I do see that concerns me though is that the ICT coordinators in the primary schools are well over 50% male. Yes technology has been embraced far quicker by males as a replacement for manual labour tasks and gives many males an opportunity in the workplace where high level communication skills are not as paramount. However, we need to have the embracing of technology seen as a necessity by both male and female in equal numbers. I see one of the key drivers to achieve this equilibrium is to create more female IT role models for our students. If there are 90% female teachers in the primary schools then there should be 90% female ICT Coordinators who are brilliant role models for other female teaching staff and for the 50% female students in the classrooms. We need to set a new norm where technology implementation and adoption is not seen as predominantly a male thing but as a career, future, passion taken up by equal numbers of males and females.

Maybe this is a way to bring down the glass ceiling for females in the future workforce by imparting positive attitudes toward technologies and promoting female role models to our young females in schools now.

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