What can we learn from the Dagenham women?
I went to see the musical ‘Made in Dagenham’ last night. Not only was it an excellent production by the Lyric Musical Society, but it also left me with a slight feeling of unease.
It sums up the politics and the culture of the late 1960’s brilliantly and of course given the subject matter of equal pay, women’s role in society. Things have changed considerably.
It also brought to mind an article I wrote last year on ‘Women in Technology’. The point I was making, was where have all the women in technology gone? Many women of my generation went into what was called ‘computing’ in the late 1970’s.
We came from all types of backgrounds and education – not a ‘computing’ degree among us. We were a motley crew – some straight from school, others with degrees in archaeology, history and math. Many of them have gone onto run businesses, be Project Managers and have had very successful careers.
In the 1990’s, I taught at RGIT (now RGU) for a year – subjects like Systems Analysis and Design, databases etc. There were very few women in these classes. So something happened within a generation. There are many great technology degrees – but they just don’t seem to do it for young women.
In the Information Security Community Group on Linked in there is a popular post ‘Why many attempts to attract women to cyber security might actually achieve the opposite’. It now has 152 comments with all sorts of perspectives – but no definitive answers.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many young women entering technology particularly through areas like digital media. You can see some in the nutshells in the link below. However, we are at a time of the year when the exam results are out, students are starting at university, and choices are being made about degree courses. We need more people in technology – men and women – it’s a great profession. Don’t be put off by the ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ image – technology is cool and fast becoming even more so!
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"What can we learn from the Dagenham women?" First published on Company Connecting August 2016