Norfolk Business Awards 2019

Women in Tech: Taking the first step into tech

Claire Riseborough, Picture: Claire Riseborough

Claire Riseborough, Picture: Claire Riseborough

Claire Riseborough

CLAIRE RISEBOROUGH is founder of social enterprise Step Into Tech, which encourages children to get into technology.

Technology has an image problem. That must change.

We must shape conversations about how technology is not just 1s and 0s but about creativity, communication and problem solving: attributes that women and girls can relate to, and are already more confident about.

MORE: The new IT crowd: What happened when Norwich girls met Thyngs

Stereotyping toys doesn’t help. Why are the robotics in shop aisles only targeted at boys?

Studies show this can pigeon-hole kids into thinking they should be “into” limited things; eg. boys should build stuff and girls should play with dolls.

Of course, it’s great for kids to be into all these things, but, are these things really wide open for all kids, regardless of gender, to explore and have fun with?

Technology has the potential to combine all these aspects - being creative, being compassionate, building and problem solving.

Education needs to make bold changes to enable young people to see how tech is incredibly diverse, and needs a diverse workforce. So many jobs demand excellent communication skills and creative thinking, from coding, project management, cyber security to User Experience to name a few – exciting jobs for women as well as men.

Keeping up with the fast-paced technology sector is a challenge.

That’s why we set up the Saturday Tech club and Techathon events. Kids come to our events to work together on projects, learn and explore new things from coding to animation and games design, and make friends.

MORE: Women in Tech: What is a techie?

We are fortunate to have inspirational professional and student volunteers who specialise in artificial intelligence, User Experience, film effects and more.

It’s been great to see how girls are inspired by female students and women in tech.

Technology needs its role models for girls to see that women do succeed.

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