Our UK firm has brought together over 100 organisations who are committed to increasing the number of women working in technology roles in the country.
In 2017, PwC UK conducted a research study to find out why so few women in the UK were choosing technology as a career. The research - which included over 2,000 school-leavers and university students across the UK - revealed that only just over a quarter of females would consider a career in technology compared to 62% of males, with only 3% of females saying it was their first choice. The respondents consistently highlighted a lack of female role models and the fact that nobody was putting a career in technology forward as an option to them. PwC decided to act to close this yawning gender gap.
“Success and innovation are driven by diversity, and society will benefit from a wider range of people bringing their perspectives and experiences to the table. I’m proud to see the momentum building with the Tech She Can Charter to inspire people from all backgrounds across the country. Technology will be central to the future success of business and our recent CEO survey showed that access to skills was the biggest concern for CEOs across the world, so it’s vital we create opportunities for everyone in this area.”
PwC UK knew it couldn’t tackle a problem of this size and complexity on its own. So it set about building a network of like-minded organisations who were equally passionate about improving the pipeline of females coming through to technology roles. The result was a new national movement called Tech She Can.
The Tech She Can Charter was launched in early 2018 with 18 organisations signed up. From there the movement’s size and momentum grew rapidly. By the time it celebrated its first anniversary in February 2019, the Charter had expanded to over 100 signatories of various sizes and industries. Alongside PwC, it includes diverse organisations such as the RAF, Channel 4, NatWest Bank, Girlguiding, Missive and Tesco. The anniversary was marked with a celebration event captured in the video below.
All signatories commit to collaborate on tackling the root causes of there being too few women in technology roles in the UK. The vision is for women to be equal members in creating and developing the new technology businesses, products and services shaping our world. To create and sustain the long-term change needed to realise this vision, the Charter runs many initiatives—including influencing policy at government level, creating and distributing female-friendly technology lessons for schoolchildren, and an image overhaul for technology careers.
On its first anniversary in February 2019, the Charter - in collaboration with five secondary schools in the UK Midlands - launched an inclusive technology education pilot called ‘Tech We Can’. During the pilot, tailored female-friendly lesson plans were taught to girls and boys aged 10 to 13. Early evidence showed these lessons were successfully changing perceptions among both boys and girls about careers in technology.
For example, before the Tech We Can pilot, just 45% of the female students involved said they would consider a career in technology. After completing the lesson plans over a six-week period, this figure rose to 65%. Also, before the pilot, only 50% of the students involved could name a famous female working in technology. After completion of the lessons, 81% of students could name a famous female in technology.
Work is now underway to build on the achievements to date. Sheridan Ash, Tech She Can founder and Technology Innovation and Women in Technology leader at PwC, commented: “We’re only just getting started – and we believe the classroom is where we’re going to have the biggest impact, which is why our goal is to make digital female-friendly lesson plans available to every school in the
country. This is about arming the UK’s teachers with the materials and support they need to inspire the next generation of technology experts.”
Women in Tech Leader, Technology & Innovation, PwC United Kingdom