As an online PC Tech and Gaming Publishing House, we are proud to have a team of both females and men working with multiple technologies and multiple roles.
Unfortunately, the wider tech industry, despite efforts, continues to be plagued by gender bias, as the recent Trust Radius Women in Tech report 2021 reveals.
Sadly, the report found that:
- 72% of women in tech have worked at a company where bro culture is pervasive. That average includes 83% of women in sales, 80% of women in marketing, and 63% of women in IT/engineering.
- The majority (72%) of women in tech are regularly outnumbered by men in business meetings by at least a 2:1 ratio. 26% of women report being outnumbered by 5:1 or more.
- 78% of women in tech feel they have to work harder than their co-workers to prove their worth.
- Women in tech are 4X more likely than men to see gender bias as an obstacle to promotion. 39% of women see gender bias as a barrier to promotion in 2021.
- Women of color are less confident than white women about their promotion prospects—and that gap has increased by 3X over the past year.
- 37% of women of color in tech feel that racial bias is a barrier to promotion.
With this year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme being ‘Choose To Challenge‘, we caught up with one of the north’s most inspiring women in tech, Naomi Timperley, to find out how she is challenging gender inequalities in the tech sector.
What do you think the barriers to entry are for women in tech?
The barriers to entry come right from school, I think. I’ve done a lot around digital skills in schools and the issues are always prevalent. In 2019/2020 I worked on an amazing project called GMCA’s GO Digital programme with Digital Advantage. GoDigital aims to link schools with industry in a meaningful way to teach core digital skills to year 7 and 8 students using a tried and tested industry-led approach, and to provide opportunities for young people to access industry mentors and relevant careers coaching. It was an inclusive employer-led digital skills and careers programme in 50 schools across Greater Manchester, developed to inspire young people aged 11-13 to consider a career in STEM.
The tech industry is not just about coding. One of the things we talked about with the schools is how creative thinking, communication, team skills and the knowledge of the components behind technology all have a vital part to play in the industry. So many of the students were amazed by the wider opportunities the tech sector presents.
Not having this knowledge is probably one of the reasons why there’s a lack of women studying computer science and coding at university. I remember once visiting a university and being horrified by the lack of women on the course. When asking the tutor, it became apparent that those who started the course simply left. I believe this is a lot to do with the lack of role models. There are some incredibly inspiring everyday women in tech, yet it’s only the famous ones who get mentioned.
In my opinion, change needs to begin at a young age. Digital is part of our everyday lives and no matter what we do, technology is everywhere. Schools need to educate students about the wider tech roles, not just about coding. Career opportunities within the tech sector must become a part of discussions if we want to change the future.
What can employers do to fix this?
Having a female toilet at their offices would be a start. Believe it or not, I once visited a tech firm who had converted their female toilet into a store cupboard. What does this say to potential female employees?
In all seriousness though, it starts with their messaging, their brand visuals and culture. A website full of images of men won’t attract females, nor will very masculine language. If a woman sees a job specification listed on the website which is packed with requirements, she will want to ensure she has at least eight or nine of the skills, whereas men usually only want one or two before applying.
I remember talking to a company who wondered why they weren’t getting a diverse range of applications. I went straight to their website and it was full of white, middle class men and the board had zero females. The job applications were far too demanding and off-putting.
Who has inspired you the most along your career?
I’m inspired by people all the time. Men and Women, all of which are everyday people. I have a fantastic friend called Vikas Shah who started his first business at 14. He is incredible and definitely an inspiration to me.
I guess if I had to make a list of people who have inspired me recently, I would say:
1.Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President at Tech UK
3.Vanessa Valley OBE, CEO We are the City
4.Amy Newton, Co-Founder of Inclusively Tech
5.Saskia Coplans, Co-Founder at DI Security
6.Kirsty Devlin, CEO at Manchester Codes
- Beth Nunn, Founder of PIE: Pursuing Individual Excellence
8.Vikas Shah MBE, CEO at Swiscot.com
- Sarah Tulip, Head of Digital Transformation at BJSS Ltd
10.Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates
- Volker Hirsch, Co-Founder at Blue Beck Studios
- Pete Mills, Founder of Alt Theory
- Phil Jones, MD at Brother UK
As project director of FreelancerHer100, I have been inspired by so many of the women on the programme. It’s been incredible.
FreelanceHER 100 is a unique fully funded 12-week business accelerator for women by women, working to launch and grow sustainable businesses in digital, creative, media and technology from across the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
Creating an opportunity for 100 female freelancers so they can succeed in these challenging times, it’s a safe place to test their ideas and grow their businesses. Through the programme, we empower female freelancers to be strong leaders, to create powerful enterprises and to influence and shape the world through their companies, using collaboration, community, and innovation. We recognise and maximise the exceptional strengths that are unique to the female freelancer.
What advice would you give to any female identifying people wanting to get into the sector?
I’d say to anyone wanting to get into the tech sector to engage with their local ecosystem. In Manchester, Techs and the City is a really great community which comes to mind. They have a lot of people on ground who are able to offer advice and guidance.
It’s also so important to have conversations. By getting involved with people already working in the sector, you not only learn from them, but you also get on their radar. For those who choose to go down the university route, I’d highly recommend getting involved with local tech entrepreneur groups as well as the university entrepreneurship society. You can’t just think about working with the big tech companies as start-ups are fast becoming the future.
If you’re old enough to have a LinkedIn account, set one up! You’ll find you’ll meet people offering free bootcamps and coding clubs, which can be a great source for knowledge.
Last but not least, VOLUNTEER! Volunteering is so important as it enables you to learn on the job whilst studying. Plus, you often get a personal mentor. I certainly wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now if hadn’t volunteered.
We’re always on the look out for talented females to join our team. Why not check out our careers page where you can find a variety of roles to suit your interests.
About Naomi Timperley.
Naomi is Co-Founder of Tech North Advocates, and is proud to be listed as one of Computer Weekly’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in UK IT during 2018, 2019 and 2020. She is an experienced partnerships, engagement and digital innovation consultant with established relationships across the UK, and has extensive experience working with start-ups and growth businesses particularly in the tech, digital and creative sectors.
Alongside this, she is a non-executive director and consultant of growth and innovation agency Alt Theory. She has been a mentor for 8 years, mentoring several hundred businesses during this time, and is an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School, chair of the Industry Advisory Board, and Interim Chair of Future Everything.
Her most recent role has added Project Director of FreelanceHER100 to her portfolio.