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30 May 19

Encouraging Women in Tech, One Paper Plane At A Time

Just over a month ago, the world was captivated of images of Katie Bouman ecstatic that she (and her team) had successfully built the technology that captured the first ever photo of a black hole. This was a historic milestone and the woman behind it was just 29 years old. However, for many people it is a hard task to think of the women before Bouman who are at the forefront of science and technology. Only 15% of people working in STEM industries in the UK are female, so introducing young bright women to the prospects in STEM is extremely important to bridge that gap.

 

We wanted to do our part, however small, and luckily the talented tech team at Rightmove were more than happy to have us and 10 students from Goffs Academy for an afternoon to introduce them to the world of technology, and where a career in STEM could take them!

 

We heard a selection of talks from Odeya Noble-Bougay (Head of Design), Jo Mairlot (Front-End Developer), Lara James (Business Analyst) and Sophie Torjussen and Lianne Harrison were on hand to talk us through Agile methodology.

 

 

All the presenters spoke of how they got into technology and why they love it now. It was enlightening to hear the journeys they had taken to get to where they are today; whether this is through the traditional university routes, like Jo who studied Computer Science at York, creative industries like Odeya into UX design or Lara working her way up Rightmove from Customer Service to her position now as a Business Analyst.

 

After the talks and a quick break, the students learnt all about Agile principles. That, in a nutshell, consisted of them forming scrum teams and speed building paper planes… (see photos). My colleague and I acted as the “customers” in this activity.

 

 

There were a couple of takeaways from the day: if we only perceive the stereotypical ‘nerdy male’ in engineering and technology – young girls are less likely to see themselves in these roles. Therefore, it’s important that young women, especially when they are critically about to choose their GCSE options, can hear the journeys of women who they can relate to in jobs that they hadn’t ever heard of before! Now, I don’t want to exaggerate or claim that we ‘changed lives’, maybe they were excited to get out of lessons for the afternoon! Nonetheless, after a fun afternoon of learning all about Agile, building paper planes and spending time at the Rightmove offices, it was announced the day was over – which was met by a collective groan from the girls. Success!

 

Big thanks to Rightmove and everyone involved, and to all the girls from Goffs Academy for coming down for the day!

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