I spoke at the UN Broadband conference in New York a few weeks ago about women and technology and how important technology and education are for the empowerment of women. Neelie Kroes (@neelieKroesEU) the EU Commission spoke there too saying
“Technology can be a game changer for women…..technology is a huge boost for our economies, if we are missing women we are missing out….billion Euros in Europe alone.”
From a personal perspective education and technology changed my, and my children’s lives for the better. You may know that 25 years ago I was a single parent with 3 kids living in poverty. I studied maths at college, took a CS degree and software engineering PhD and became a computer science academic.
Getting an education and understanding tech and all its opportunities has dramatically improved not only my, but also my children’s life chances. They have happy, accomplished and successful lives.
We need to give more women the chance to see what opportunities there are in tech. To give them the confidence and understanding that enables them to create a better life for themselves and their families. This is not only good for them, but also in the long run good for the economy.
I’ve recently been working on trying to make this happen. I created #techmums a program of 5 * 2 hour immersive hands on workshops in app design, web design, online security, social media and Python programming with Raspberry Pi. We take mums who are in their own words “afraid of the keyboard” and help them to become tech savvy. e-Skills UK have accredited the #techmums program.
We have run an extremely successful pilot in the UK’s poorest borough: Tower Hamlets, the average female life expectancy there is the lowest in the country at 54. That’s just 3 years older than me.
We have made an obvious difference to our first cohort of #techmums’ lives, Dr Lela Koulouri from Brunel University carried out an investigation throughout the program into the #techmums self esteem, confidence and attitude towards technology. The findings were that not only did the #techmums confidence in and around technology grow, but also their general self esteem.
In the next few months we are going to be running #techmums across secondary schools in Tower Hamlets, and making plans to scale it up and roll it out across the UK.
We are currently looking for funding for the Tower Hamlets roll out and for volunteers, mums and schools across the UK to sign up so that we can gauge interest in a national roll out.
It would be great to have your help and support. There are currently four ways that you can help us:
1. By donating to our Indiegogo campaign Let’s start a #techmums revolution watch the video and see what the mums say about how it has changed them.
2. By signing up as a volunteer, mum or school.
3. By spreading the word to others that you think may be interested in helping us by email, or Twitter @SavvyTechmums
“I’m helping to start a #techmums revolution with @savvytechmums http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-start-a-techmums-revolution”
4. By offering us support, advice, contacts and/or advocacy so that we can make sure our campaign is successful. Who could you connect us to?
Changing mums lives changes not only their life for the better but the lives of those around them. This African saying sums up what we are all about:
“Educate a man and you educate one person, educate a woman and you educate a nation”
Let’s educate *our* nation :))
Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Interested? Read more here.