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News Briefs

‘Now+Next’ Reaches Over 4,000 Girls in the UK to Tackle the Tech Gender Gap

While gender diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) is increasing, women remain a minority in the science and technology industries, making up only 24 percent of the overall STEM workforce in the UK. The computer science industry has one of the largest gender imbalances, with only 19 percent of the workforce consisting of women. To encourage more women to pursue careers in technology, leading technology companies have teamed up to launch the Now+Next association. Now+Next has reached over 4,000 young women across 17 schools in the UK. They encourage the exploration of careers in technology and STEM fields. These student-employer encounters seek to improve the employment chances of young people and support businesses in developing their talent pipeline and bridging the tech gender gap.

Now+Next connecting girls with women tech leaders to bridge the gender gap

The association launched in 2022 as a collaboration between leading product analytics company Mixpanel, digital product design and build experts Candyspace and mobile experience company Airship, with the objective to inspire the next generation of female technology leaders. They partnered with Founders4Schools, an award-winning charity that bridges the techgap between education and the world of work. The charity connects young people with inspirational volunteer role models. Women share their technology career journeys and what led them into their industry.

Now+Next challenges the gender biases and stereotypes that girls and young women are exposed to from a young age. It helps tackle the gender gap for women in the technology industry. It provides girls with exposure to female technology leaders early on, inspiring them to make informed decisions about their future during critical early periods of their education.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day 2023, Now+Next hosted an event in London. Over 30 students from three schools attended. The main objective of the event was to encourage girls to pursue careers in data, design and technology and to choose STEMg subjects for A-Levels. The day started with an introductory presentation. It framed the landscape of gender inequalities in science and technology. provided an overview of how the partners work together. 

Then each technology partner held a breakout session. The girls were able to pitch to clients about how they would solve problems, and learn about the different journeys women have taken to end up in the technology industry. They had the chance to network with a leadership panel featuring female leaders from the technology partners.  

Beyond hosting events for students, the partners have also invited female students to complete work experience placements to gain a hands-on understanding of the technology industry. Since launching Now+Next, Mixpanel has hosted six students for work experience. The girls learned about different career paths at Mixpanel and in product analytics. They even had a case study assignment to complete. Candyspace also runs a work experience program that gives each participant the chance to design and build their own iPhone app under the guidance of their digital experts. Tasks throughout the program include conducting user research, generating concepts, creating visual designs, coding, testing and presenting the finished product.

Now+Next bridging the tech gender gap

Despite the progress made in recent years, there are still many barriers to girls entering the technology industry. Girls are often discouraged from pursuing STEM subjects. Societal expectations and gender biases suggest STEM is a ‘male’ domain. This tech gender gap limits innovation and creativity in the tech industry. Diverse perspectives are needed to solve complex problems. Increasing the representation of women in tech is not only important for gender equality, it is also important for the industry’s growth and development.

Now+Next offers opportunities to experience the industry and provides female role models. They hope to enable girls and young women to see technology as a viable career path. We need to break down these barriers and encourage more girls to pursue careers in tech. We can create a more inclusive and innovative tech industry for the future.

Natalie Kouzeleas, GM & RVP of Mixpanel EMEA

 Now+Next has developed into a key pillar of Mixpanel’s diversity and inclusion strategy in EMEA. Seeing the initiative grow both in terms of membership and impact is hugely satisfying on both a personal and professional level. It’s a demonstration of how even small companies can make a real impact if they work together with a shared vision.” 

As a founding member of the Now+Next association, Airship’s mission is to inspire young women. Airship does this by helping them understand possibilities, providing connections and supporting experiences in data, design and technology. The Now+Next program is one example of Airship’s DEI focus on talent, workforce and community impact. It reinforces our commitments and year-round efforts to uplift the industries and communities we serve across the globe. Collaborating with other leaders on this important work shows how much strength there is in numbers. Airship aims to reduce gender bias in its people experience practices. They aim to have an inclusive workforce representation and create an environment that better supports and encourages young women interested in pursuing a career in technology.

Marjorie Armitage, EMEA General Manager at Braze

“Braze is thrilled to have joined the Now+Next initiative this year. We feel very passionate about supporting women’s representation in our company and in the tech industry at all levels. We are motivated to educate girls in the UK about careers in tech. We share our own employees’ journey into the industry and experiences along the way. Through our partnership with Now&Next, we aim to educate young women about the wealth of opportunities available to them within the Technology industry. Empowering them to explore these opportunities and become the female leaders of tomorrow.”

For more information on the association, please visit: Now+Next to support women in technology.

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