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Brief Published: 3 Dec 2013

Women Shift Digital

Women Shift Digital

The Women Shift Digital conference in London last week (November 26), produced and curated by UK design collective body>data>space, measured the impact women are making on the digital sector and issued several calls to action for companies to ensure future growth.

Speakers emphasised that while change is underway, it is time to accelerate women’s development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “The groundswell has already taken place,” said Janet Thomas, vice-president of UK organisation Women in Banking and Finance. “In my lifetime, I may not see 50% of women on the board, but I will see significant numbers of women in senior positions.”

Shadow cabinet office minister Chi Onwurah called for technology designers to be more representative of the people who ultimately use technology. Onwurah lambasted Eurostar Group’s ePad Femme – a tablet computer for women launched in October 2012, which comes pre-loaded with yoga and recipe apps. Tech reporter Kate Russell added that nearly half of gamers are women, but only 4% of video games give you the chance to play as a female character. “We can't wait another 25 years for change to happen,” Onwurah concluded.

Anne-Marie Imafidon – founder of Stemettes, a project that aims to inspire the next generation of women to take on STEM roles – highlighted that just 13% of the UK’s STEM workforce was female in 2012. Her advice to companies was to help women:

  • Look Up: There are not enough female role models. We need to show there are all kinds of women working across STEM – it's not just Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg.
  • Start Young: Set up coding clubs for five-year-olds as well as teenagers.

For more on how women are redefining their roles, attitudes and consumer behaviours across culture and society, see the Stylus Industry Trend Future Female. The Third Revolution looks at new definitions of success and leadership, rooted in traditionally 'female' values such as empathy, nurture and communication.