You are currently reading Issue 168: Day of the Girl, September 2023

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Girl powered: Building an inclusive and equitable tech ecosystem to improve lives

Rose Mullan, Cohort Lead at Northcoders

Girls in technology

Rose Mullan is a cohort lead at Northcoders, a provider of industry-leading coding bootcamps. After studying for an arts and culture degree in the Netherlands, she returned to the UK and worked as a client services manager for a specialist presentation graphic design agency. Rose decided it was time for a change and she trained as a full-stack software developer, before graduating from the Northcoders Developer Pathway, and eventually joining the organisation.

Rose Mullan - Northcoders
Rose Mullan

“Equal access to technology is a fundamental step in achieving gender equity by providing girls with the tools and opportunities they need to excel in education, careers and life.”

Catching the coding bug

My career background is that I studied an arts and culture degree in the Netherlands and when I returned to the UK, I joined a graphic design agency, working on the sales side. However, the more senior I became, the more I realised it wasn’t for me. I felt disenfranchised so I knew it was time for a change.

I had never coded before – and had no tech experience – but it appealed so I did my research and enrolled at Northcoders in 2019. I graduated in 2020 from the software development bootcamp and went on to work for an app agency through the pandemic. I enjoyed it, but one day I saw that Northcoders was hiring for a seminar lead, so I decided to go for it as I loved the company culture while I was studying. I was promoted to cohort lead earlier this year which now sees me lecturing, delivering content, updating and overseeing course curriculum and managing students and staff. I thrive on the mix as no two days are ever the same.

Powered by technology

Northcoders is a market-leading provider of technology training for businesses and individuals with courses in software engineering, data engineering and cloud engineering. We were founded in 2015, and now operate a hybrid structure with sites in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle. We offer bootcamp courses to individuals from a range of backgrounds, delivered through virtual and physical learning. Everything we do is powered by IP [intellectual property] rich technology.

Northcoders also works with blue chip corporates across multiple sectors to help them to meet their digital requirements, with teams as a service and we supply innovative solutions for the upskilling and reskilling of employees.

Inclusivity, diversity and quality are at our core, and we are constantly striving to address the digital skills gap in the UK to meet the increasing demand for digital specialists at all levels — both in the public and private sectors.

Creating a more inclusive and equitable world for girls everywhere

Girl using laptop
Image by master1305 on Freepik

I believe that International Day of the Girl is crucial as it raises awareness, advocates for gender equality, and ultimately aims to empower girls and young women. It serves as a catalyst for positive change and reminds us of the ongoing efforts required to create a more inclusive and equitable world for girls everywhere. It can also promote education, combat discrimination, foster solidarity and inspire change.

The importance of equal access to technology

Equal access to technology is a fundamental step in achieving gender equity by providing girls with the tools and opportunities they need to excel in education, careers and life. It empowers them to challenge traditional gender roles, participate fully in the digital age and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. Some of the most important factors include:

  • Education and skill development — access to technology allows girls to acquire digital literacy and technical skills from an early age, preparing them for future careers in various fields. Without access to technology, they may miss out on crucial learning opportunities;
  • Closing the gender gap in STEM — the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have traditionally been male-dominated. Equal access to technology can help bridge that gap by giving girls the tools and resources to explore these fields and pursue careers in them;
  • Economic empowerment — technology provides opportunities for remote work, entrepreneurship, and online learning. When girls have access to technology, they can access a wide range of economic opportunities, reducing gender disparities in income and employment;
  • Networking and mentorship — technology facilitates networking and mentorship opportunities. Girls can connect with mentors and role models in their chosen fields, which is essential for career development and confidence-building;
  • Gender equity advocacy — technology allows girls and women to amplify their voices and advocate for gender equity;
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation — equal access to technology empowers girls to become entrepreneurs and innovators. In time, they will create and develop technology-based solutions to address societal challenges, contributing to economic and social development;
  • Breaking stereotypes — when girls have access to technology and succeed in traditionally male-dominated fields, they challenge stereotypes and pave the way for more inclusive workplaces and opportunities for future generations;
  • Global connectivity — technology connects people globally, providing opportunities for cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. Girls with access to technology can engage in international dialogues and partnerships, broadening their horizons and perspectives;
  • Digital citizenship and safety — in an increasingly digital world, understanding digital citizenship and online safety is crucial. Equal access to technology allows girls to develop these skills and protect themselves from online risks.

Creating real opportunities

Organisations like Northcoders play a critical role. At Northcoders, we create real opportunities for women and people of all genders to change their lives. We don’t care where people come from or what their background is. Our job is to help them be seen and be inspired. We are passionate about promoting tech as a career option, we teach from an equal base, we have a very gender diverse team who offer close mentorship and we have a robust code of ethics which underpins our culture. We have also provided female/ gender minority scholarships, bursaries and a dedicated drop-in service.

Building an inclusive and equitable tech ecosystem

young-girl-trying-out-virtual reality headset
Image by Freepik

The best routes into technology for girls can vary depending on individual interests and circumstances. However, there are several approaches and strategies that can help encourage and support girls in pursuing technology-related careers, including: established education and STEM programmes; role models and mentorships that connect girls with female role models and mentors who can provide guidance, inspiration and a sense of belonging; and apprenticeships.

Specific girls in tech initiatives such as InnovateHer are also incredibly important as they can provide a supportive community and real opportunities for skills building. The key is to create an inclusive and equitable tech ecosystem that enables all individuals, regardless of gender, to pursue their interests and careers in technology.

Celebrating International Day of the Girl

On International Day of the Girl itself, this year I will be lecturing. But as a business, we will be amplifying International Day of the Girl’s messages to our communities, and we will – of course — be living by our code of ethics, which is what we do every day.

Coming up

I’m going to be moving over to our internal development team very soon for a couple of months which will see me working on the delivery of some live projects for Northcoders itself. It’s going to be a change of pace, but I can’t wait to get stuck in.


Main image credit: Freepik

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