Getting more women in tech 'won't change overnight'
- Credit: STEMPOINT East
Suffolk science, technology, engineering and maths ambassadors are encouraging more women to enter the industry.
Felixstowe's Stephanie Bally said there was a "negative stigma" around STEM subjects being not stereotypically something that women do.
The 20-year-old said: "Most women have gone through something or been asked something as a woman.
"It's sad to see."
Over 1.1m women in 2020 worked across STEM. With the ONS estimating women make up 24% of the STEM workforce, a slight rise from 2019.
Stephanie is an applied research degree apprentice at BT and is undertaking a degree in digital and technology olutions at Exeter University, funded through the telecommunications company.
She also said it is about companies investing in women, BAME, and LGBT staff.
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"It's not something that changes overnight," she said. "If you want to do something say this is my opinion, my choice, and what you will do to get there."
As a STEM ambassador, she is encouraging more young people in the industry with education charity STEMPOINT East and fellow tech guru Gerraint Thomas.
Gerraint, who runs tech consultancy Guided Innovation, regularly talks to schools about his experiences and has a "real passion" for getting more women in the industry.
The 40-year-old, from Norton near Stowmarket, said: "You don't need to be a geek.
"STEM will add zeroes to your salary."
He also explained how after speaking to a teenager, she was inspired to do computing at GCSE.
"There was this 13-year-old beautician and she just wanted to do hair and nails and she said 'no way' to doing tech."
He then talked about how nanotechnology could in the future change your hair and nails in an instant. And she is now looking at STEM as a future career.
For Stephanie work experience at BT made her realise: “Technology is a huge part of everyone’s life, especially the younger generation.
"Snapchat filters, for instance, are using augmented reality. Netflix and other streaming services are using machine learning algorithms to provide suggested shows for users to watch.
"We need young people to be inspired and excited about this!”
Anyone interested in accessing online learning inputs for their school should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can sign up as an ambassador or learn more about how your staff can become involved at stempointeast.org.uk.