Along with a female Capgemini colleague, Simina Cami, I spent today talking careers at a London all boys school. Given our driving focus on getting young ladies into technology business careers you might see this as a slight deviation. Potentially very wrong.
In fact, I think there is a real case for leading female executives to spend more time with boys, than we’ve been doing. Why?
Quite simply, because as we all know that women cannot and nor should they be expected to succeed without the active support of their male colleagues. This starts early on straight from school into Apprenticeships. Young men need to see women in technology and business as the norm – they need to expect female colleagues, bosses and clients.
Any young lad studying in London today will know that women are great at the caring professions – they expect them in the classroom, the dentist, the hospital etc. There’s plenty of evidence backing up various quotes about young Asian women being Britain’s most likely GP. Therefore any girl who says she wants to be a doctor or dentist or teacher is likely to be in great company and certainly her male peers would expect that answer. They’re not likely to see it as a joke or tell her she can’t.
We need the same when the next girl that says she wants to create Apple’s new phone, run Google or take Mark Zuckerberg’s job. Right now, young men entering our industry see that women are often the exception in teams and that the lead technologist is too often male.
So, female technologists and business leaders need not only to inspire the future generation of girls that they can be great technologists and leaders, but also the young men they’ll be working alongside. It’s a tall order, but it needs to be done.
Besides which in this weather wouldn’t you rather be creating technology that defines how our society lives than listening to the 25th hacking cough of the day?
A huge thank you to the wonderful year 9 group at Salvatorian college. No matter where their careers take them these young men displayed lovely manners and a real enthusiasm for their future.
Michelle Perkins, Director Schools Outreach Programme