PwC has joined forces with 18 other firms to boost the number of women working in technology-based roles, fighting against inequality in the sector.
The Tech She Can' Charter has been developed by PwC, the British Science Association, Business 3.0, Digital Jam, everywoman, FDisruptors, Girlguiding, InnovateHer, JP Morgan, Modern Muse, money.co.uk, NatWest Markets, Sophos, Smoothwall, TechGirls, Tech Talent Charter, Tesco, T Systems, and Zoopla Property Group. It aims to inspire young people to consider a career in tech.
It will require all businesses involved to work with schools to educate children about tech careers, targeting areas identified by the government as social mobility coldspots and promoting female role models working in technology. They will also need to actively promote women in technology roles within their organisations, attracting, recruiting and retaining females in tech positions.
"We want to be at the forefront of tackling the gender imbalance in the tech workforce and make sure the fantastic opportunities on offer are available to everyone," said Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries.
"The whole UK government has recently signed the Tech Talent Charter, which focuses on increasing the gender diversity of those already working in tech roles, and we welcome PwC's new initiative to target and inspire the talent of tomorrow."
The initiative was launched on the back of research that revealed only 23 percent of people working in STEM jobs are female. At present, 27 percent of women say they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62 percent of men.
PwC's Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap report said the reasons women don't consider a career in STEM subjects is because no one has suggested there are tech-related career options, they don't know what working in technology involves and there aren't enough female role models to show them what's possible.
"Promoting visible and relatable role models is a huge part of this, as it's hard for girls to aspire to be something they can't see," Ash said. "There are many brilliant women working in technology roles right across the UK, from creatives and designers, to coders and data scientists. Technology is open to all and we need to get that message across."
The consortium believes accessing females early in their education is key for future success. A major part of the scheme is working directly with schools to educate young people and developing technology toolkits to help them understand what's possible.
"Waiting until women are entering work is simply too late - to boost the number of females in technology we need to take coordinated action to start inspiring girls to consider technology careers while they are still at school," added Sheridan Ash, Women in Tech leader at PwC and The Tech She Can Charter founder.
"By working together we can reach more females at an earlier stage of their lives. We need to work harder to raise awareness about the exciting range of technology roles out there, in a sector that has the power to change the world."
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Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.
Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.
As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.