Our opinion on the UK government's Fatima advert.
Like many people working in the creative sectors over the past few weeks, I’ve been alternately laughing and raging about the now-infamous advert encouraging artists to retrain in cyber.
How many of us were told as children to make sure we had a “real job” in mind as well as our passion? How many times were we reminded – kindly or not so kindly – that our passion wouldn’t make us a living, and we needed to get used to the idea of picking a “serious career” instead?
It’s not hard to understand why this particular advert caused such controversy. It was at best thoughtless, and at worst actively offensive.
However. (Yes, I’m saying however. Go with me on this one.)
The basic principle of encouraging more people to consider tech as a career is not a bad one. Yes, this advert was crass and tone-deaf. Yes, nobody should be suggesting that someone gives up something they have worked incredibly hard for over many, many years.
But the tech industry is only going to keep growing over the coming years. It’s an industry that’s crying out for new recruits.
And it’s an industry that desperately needs more women.
That’s why it’s such a shame this advert was approved. It may very well have put off the kinds of creative, diverse women tech so desperately needs.
The good news is that the Tech Talent Charter’s new campaign, Doing It Anyway, is doing exactly what that ill-judged advert didn’t. The campaign started on 21st October 2020 and will run the end of November. We’re so excited to get involved with the empowering message and the aim of getting more working-age women considering a career in tech.
Six Website Executive Lily wrote about the problems that arise in AI when there aren’t enough female voices in the mix – and it’s an issue that is not limited to AI. All across the board, we need more women in tech. Without diversity, tech will continue to suffer from limitations that arise when you only have a certain type of person involved in creating something.
To me, it seems like an obvious solution. To have tech that works for everybody in society, we need everybody in society represented in the creative process.
As part of Doing It Anyway, we’ll be highlighting our very own Six women in tech on our social media over the next few weeks. They’ll be talking about their careers and giving advice to anybody who’s keen to get into the industry. They’ll also be speaking frankly about any challenges they’ve faced, and what they’ve overcome to get here. Keep an eye on our blog and social channels to stay up to date with the campaign.
And if any woman you know, of any age, wants to know how she can get involved in tech, send us a message. Our tech superstars would love to share their experience and knowledge.