National Report will include an action plan for Saint John

SJ Part of National Discussion on Women in Tech

 

Should schools be exposing girls to Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at an even younger age than they do now? Are there enough mentors and networks for women? What barriers are out there that stop women from pursuing a career in technology?

These are some of the topics that came up during a community conversation on women in technology, sponsored by Enterprise Saint John, October 25th at ConnexionWorks. Women in Tech World’s “Driving WinTech”, national conversation started in Vancouver in September.

“With the lack of qualitative data on women in tech in Canada, Women in Tech World embarked on the Driving WinTech tour to better understand and support women in tech,” says CEO & Co-Founder, of Women in Tech World, Alicia Close.

Close was joined by Melanie Ewan and Sarah McCarthy. The three women have been travelling across the country in a well-loved Winnebago Warrior gathering information on the barriers, challenges, successes, and resources for women in tech.

30 Canadian communities have created events featuring expert panelists who work in ICT or support the growth of the sector. There were two stops in New Brunswick; Fredericton and Saint John. Cathy Simpson from T4G offered to moderate both panels.

“It’s not often at all that we get together to discuss our experiences in the industry.  I really consider this as a first of many conversations that we need to have to drive more women in Tech. There are many Tech job opportunities now and we want people to know that,” says Simpson

Rose Burley from J.D. Irving Ltd., Daniella DeGrace from Gemba Software Solutions and Sharon Rathod from Mariner Partners were the guest panelists for the Saint John event that attracted about 19 men and women interested in being part of the discussion. The women talked about what lead them into technology, some of the struggles they faced as well as how they are trying to exert positive change in their areas.

There is one more stop in St. John’s, Newfoundland and the data still needs to be analyzed, but conversation facilitator Melanie Ewan is seeing and hearing similar feedback.

“I would say that the key themes seem to be around education, shifting the language and assumptions around gender, and the need for role models at all levels. What’s interesting is why each location chose these themes and the different ideas that community members have brought forward to address them. Stay tuned!” says Ewan.

Once the 16, 500 km journey is over, the hope is to eventually create a national report and action plan that will be shared with the communities and Women in Tech Worldwide online, which has 85 million subscribers.

“We want to develop regional playbooks and action plans to support women in tech across Canada. There are programs and initiatives that will be launched at a regional and national level to ensure women and young girls’ voices are heard from these community conversations,” says Close.

This story originally appeared in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, Tuesday, October 31st.

For more information on WinTech go to: www.drivingwomenintech.com 

For more on research on Women in Tech go here.