Last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the Inspiring Women, speed mentoring event at Mulberry School for Girls in East London. The event was organised by Inspiring the Future, a charity which connects schools with employers to inspire students. They are currently running the Inspiring Women campaign, where women from all industries are encouraged to volunteer a couple of hours of their time to talk to young students about career options.
Last week, the focus was on women in technology and inspiring young women to consider careers in the technology industry. The aim was to show the wide range of careers available and empower the girls to have the confidence to pursue these possibilities. The morning involved students who are deciding on their GCSEs and A Levels from Mulberry School for Girls and other surrounding schools in Tower Hamlets. It gave them the opportunity to ask questions and talk to a variety of mentors.
On arrival, I was brought to the library, where we had the chance to network with the other women attending the event. There were women from a huge range of companies, such as Google, Sky, LinkedIn, Quidco, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Microsoft and Facebook. It was inspiring for me to talk to other women in technology and hear about the interesting journeys they have made to be where they are today.
We were then brought to the hall where 20 tables had been set up, all with 6-8 students sitting on them. We had 8 minutes at each table, where the girls had the chance to ask questions, before the bell rings and we moved to the next table. The students were really interested in hearing about the decisions I had made at school and university before I ended up working in technology. They all seemed relieved when I told them that I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was their age either!
The students were interested in knowing why there was a gender gap in technology and it was great to tell them about all the different opportunities that technology can give you. Coding and computer science is a large part of working in technology, but there are a huge amount of roles which don’t require it, just a passion for technology and working with businesses to solve their problems!
The mentoring session sped by, and it was fantastic to talk to so many students about their career aspirations. Following the session, we had photos with the students and a second opportunity to network. Overall, I came away from the morning having gained a huge amount of experience myself! It was great to meet so many successful women in my field, whilst also being able to empower the next generation.
If you are interested in giving up a morning of your time to help inspire students, then you can find out more at the Inspiring Women and Inspiring The Future websites.