This post also appeared on The Huffington Post.
It’s a well-known fact that there are not enough women working in the Technology and Design industries today. Women only make up 12% of the workforce, and only 5% of board members at FTSE listed companies are women. However, withs girls outperforming boys in education, with 72% gaining A-C’s against 55% of boys in Sciences and Arts subjects. We have the talent, but it’s not coming through to the industry. With 95% of women seeing the industry as nerdy, more is needed to inspire women to work in this rapidly expanding industry.Web Heroines, founded by successful web designer Keri Lambden in 2011, was set up to celebrate women working in the Tech and Design industries, bringing women together and inspiring others to work in the growing tech industry. Rather than criticise and point fingers at the restrictions, the group’s aim is to showcase and celebrate achievements, sharing opinions, and then investigate potential solutions to the girl gap.
Emerge was a mini conference set up to start that very conversation. The three day event ran during the 16-18th January, starting with webinars by speakers from all over the world sharing their knowledge on a variety of subjects from SASS to juggling a freelancing and a day job, accumulating with a panel discussion in the British Library with four inspiring women all working in the industry. Julie Howell, confidently claimed that she ‘invented social media’ back in 1995 by setting up one of the world’s first online communities; Jooly’s Joint, and has won 5 awards for her influence on accessible design. Sarah McVittie co-founded Texperts, the world’s first text message questioning service, which was sold to KGB in 2008 in a multi-Million pound deal. She has since founded Dressipi, a ‘contextually aware fashion recommendation system’. Sarah Parmenter started her business at 19, and is a completely self-taught UI designer and coder. An early adopter of designing for the iPhone/iPad, she regularly speaks at conferences both in the UK and abroad and recently won .net designer of the year award 2011. Jess Ratcliffe came up with the idea for her video game swapping website, gaboom, when she was just 15. She has recently appeared on Dragon’s Den,and has recently re-launched the website.