A new network is launching to connect women in technology in the North East.
Women in Tech North East is an inclusive network for people who identify as women in the North East of England.
All women who are interested in digital or tech are welcome to join this free network. It is open to people who work in digital or technology roles, who are studying computing or digital courses, or who have a general interest in tech.
Women in Tech North East will provide a platform for women to connect and share their knowledge and experiences. The network aims to raise awareness of the many opportunities that technology offers to women in the North East, and provide a supportive community to help women start and progress in digital and tech careers.
The network responds to gender diversity challenges in the North East Technology Sector. Women make up around 21% of digital jobs within the North East, according to the latest Office of National Statistics figures.
And young women coming through the education system aren’t seeing technology as a ‘first choice’ career – only 3% said this in a recent PWC report.
Research conducted by We Are Tech Women and Ipsos Mori found that there are many barriers that prevent women’s progression into tech careers. The report found that only 6 in 10 women had accessed mentoring and/or networking, and only 1 in 5 had ever had access to sponsorship.
There are a number of networks which support and promote women working in technology nationally, but until Women in Tech North East was founded, there was no regional network for all women interested in tech.
Beginning with a LinkedIn group and Twitter account set up in Spring 2022, the online network is gaining momentum and now has around 300 members.
Women in Tech North East has been founded by a group of women who champion technology work in the region, including Professor Sue Black (Durham University), Melanie Dunnett (Newcastle University), Elena Gorman (Qrious), Rachel Pattinson (Newcastle University), and Kathryn Wharton (Monstarlab).
Professor Sue Black (Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist at Durham University) set up the national BCSWomen group in 1998. She said:
“Having been based in the region for nearly 4 years, I’ve been excited by the buzz in the tech scene. It’s an incredible region, with so many people who are changing the world through tech.”
“It’s time the North East had a network to support and catalyse the trajectories of the incredible women in tech.”
Kathryn Wharton (Marketing Manager at Monstarlab) said: “When I career pivoted from culture into tech I was looking for a supportive, peer-led community to help me navigate this next step in my career.”
“At the time, I couldn’t find a group like this so I am delighted that I can be part of launching this community to try and support other women thinking about or already working in tech.”
The group are now planning their first event, a Summer Meetup, which is sponsored by Newcastle University’s School of Computing, and will be held in July 2022 in Newcastle. Women in Tech North East are inviting online network and new members to join them.
Elena Gorman (UX Designer, Qrious) said: “I hope that our new network, Women in Tech North East, will help women to spark new conversations, and open new doors to digital and tech opportunities.
The network is completely free to join. We can’t wait to launch the network formally at our Summer Meetup in July and start to build stronger connections between women in our region!”
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