Blog post from Mary Linnington, Athena SWAN Director
Six female PGCE students lead an evening session to celebrate Ada Lovelace day. Below is an account of the session.
Dana Addo, Jagdeep Matharu, Melissa Thomas, Hamda Ahmed, Marium Sadiq’s and Sabrina Sahebdin talked about Ada Lovelace and her later followers. They researched current females involved in technology, giving and enlightening overview of their history.
Melissa and Dana pointed out that only 28 % of IT jobs are held by women and discussed possible
Influences on this such as media, peer pressure, and male photos. They said: “It’s very strange because 92 % of year 5/6 girls enjoyed IT and 86% wanted to continue to study the subject in secondary school but only 3 wants to do a job in IT.”
The students also researched a range of initiatives to try to counteract the stereotyping of women in IT, including Geek gurl diaries, a YouTube web series to inspire girls. This website was designed and managed by Ex UEL student Carrie Anne Philbin who is now a secondary school ICT teacher. Carrie set up a network for students and professionals and has provided resources for other teachers.
Following this Stacey Pogoda, a UEL senior lecturer in gaming told her personal story and that of others who have almost been persecuted for being women in IT and gaming.
The trainees made a powerful case for using female role models when teaching classes about IT. They offered advice about how to encourage primary girls to enjoy and take up IT and finished by saying “We think making a difference begins at school”.
UEL has re-iterated its commitment to gaining an Athena SWAN award. For further information visit http://www.uel.ac.uk/athenaswan/