From the initial days of computer science to the present age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, women have made countless contributions to the digital world in which we live. Their accomplishments have been against all odds, in a field that has historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them.
Today, a continuing gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology’s full potential. Their underrepresentation in STEM education and career remains a major barrier to their involvement in high tech design and governance and the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence often forces them out of the digital spaces they do occupy.
Last July, hundreds of people from across the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region gathered to celebrate the launch of WeRise, an edutainment app aimed at raising awareness on gender equality and women’s empowerment. With support from UN Women, the platform was developed by youth for youth – and its success highlights the impact that new voices, ideas and technologies can have on the gender equality space.
Closer to home, in the last decade, Edinburgh has become one of the most thriving UK tech hubs. Scotland leads the UK in terms of gender inclusion in the technology industry, according to the British Computer Society, as women make up 20% of the technology sector in Scotland compared to 17% nationally.
Digital Xtra Fund, a Scottish charity, has warned schools that they need to encourage and support more girls to study computing and address the gender imbalance in technology.
Scotland boasts trailblazing women including Mary Burton who successfully campaigned for some of Scotland’s Universities to admit female students. Madge Easton Anderson, the first female Solicitor in Scotland and a partner in the first known law firm to be led entirely by women.
Frances Wright was among the first women in America to speak publicly about politics and social reform. Wright advocated for universal education, the abolition of slavery, birth control, equal rights, legal rights for married women and liberal divorce laws, to name a few.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce supports women who have a strong desire to grow the economy and aspire to break barriers through our Future Female Business Leaders campaign. Facilitated in partnership with the Association of Scottish Businesswomen, our goal is to enable everyone to reach their potential and to grasp business opportunities here in Scotland and internationally.
We understand the importance of developing promising ideas, nurturing ambition and sharing our collective business knowledge and connections in every sector and throughout the country.
Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a perfect example of playing to the strengths and connectivity of both the public and private sector. It is an economic priority to ensure that we create an infrastructure which will unlock the outstanding opportunities which exist for females in the workplace enabling more of us to progress to the very top.”