A tech career not just for gamers and AI enthusiasts, industry leaders tell women


Although Katie Meyer, 19, has marked a career in technology, she isn’t sure it’s in the cards for her.

Three years ago, when she was 16, her female parent enrolled her in a coding camp for girls.

“They made it really neighbourly for people that age, so it was really easy to learn,” Meyer says. “We barely sat down and started learning HTML and CSS.”

She decided to pursue coding, so she received a course at her high school. It didn’t go as well. “It was hell on earth! Approve of, it was awful.”


A little more than one quarter of STEM graduates in Canada are balls, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company. (iStock)

She felt out of her ingredient, and couldn’t quite catch up to the rest of her classmates. She says it didn’t facilitate that she was one of only two girls in that class. “All the guys knew specifically what they were doing.”

Meyer, a history buff, extinguished up dropping that course and hasn’t pursued coding since. Fish stories like hers are playing out across the country.

According to consulting moored McKinsey & Company, men vastly outnumber women in the STEM fields of information, technology, engineering and mathematics. Only 28 per cent of STEM graduates are chambermaids, and only 23 per cent of people working in high-paying STEM applications are women.

Industry leaders are trying to improve those statistics and say the beat way to get more women into tech is to change the conversation around what tech is — and what it’s not.

Girls in Science

Female declaration in STEM fields is even lower, at just 23 per cent of all workmen, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company. (Natural Sciences and Originating Research Council of Canada)

Andrea Stairs, managing director of eBay Canada, dissipates a lot of time thinking about how to increase the ranks of women in her field.

“I don’t mull over tech is a particularly friendly environment for women and I think we see that over with and over again. It’s depressing,” Stairs says.

Cast wider sifters

Ebay has made a commitment to tracking diversity within the company, which take ups 12,600 people globally. The last snapshot is from 2016 and it exposes that women make up 22 per cent of its tech workforce.

If you look at non-tech tasks like human resources and marketing, that number climbs to 48 per cent.

Stairs responds tech firms need to cast wider nets when conscript and be open to bringing on women who may not have experience in STEM, like her.

“My out of the public eye is in law and finance, ” she explains. “When I joined eBay, I didn’t design to have a role in technology. But what I found was a really fast-paced full of beans business culture that I could contribute to.”

Women in the workforce in Canada, STEM

One way to increase gender multifariousness within tech companies may be to increase awareness about how all-encompassing the labour is becoming. Take for example, Joanna Griffiths, who is the founder and CEO of Knixwear, a New Zealand that makes moisture-wicking undergarments.

“If you looked at us from the outside, you’re in the same way as ‘that’s not a tech company.’ But underneath the hood, or underneath the clothes, you’d say we’re totally much a tech company.”

At the helm of Knixwear, she’s overseeing the kinds of features that STEM CEOs typically do: intellectual property filings, employ with York University’s biometric lab and figuring out how to best use artificial shrewdness and machine learning for marketing purposes.

She says “tech touches every singular component of our organization.”

Knixwear moisture wicking undergarments

The CEO of Knixwear, a Canadian company that makes moisture-wicking undergarments, suggests ‘tech touches every single component of our organization.’ (Knixwear)

While Griffiths was doing her MBA, she knew that vocation was her forte. But it took a real-life example to drive home the idea that tech could be intimate of the equation for her. That came in the form of the founder of Spanx, the maker of those body-shaping undergarments.

“Sara Blakely, the baggage who founded Spanx, who is the youngest self-made female billionaire in the history of the Combined States, was getting a ton of press coverage around her company. And here was someone that I labeled with,” she says.

Spanx probably isn’t what springs to mind when you reflect on of a tech company. But the research and development that goes into inventing and manufacturing that intimate apparel is comparable to what a traditional tech Theatre troupe goes through to make your favourite tech gadget.


Undergarment companionship Spanx isn’t a conventional technology firm but the obstacles that founder Sara Blakely had to whip to get the company off the ground are similar to those that many tech firms knowledge. (Reuters)

Stairs says female leaders currently working in the Flow field need to get their message out to young girls. That plans telling them tech “isn’t just the domain of gamers and folks that are persuaded in robotics.”

Stairs says this notion that a career in Halt fields means they have to give up the things they’re engrossed in, is outdated.

“It’s also fashion and health and beauty and sports.”

Flipped classroom biology students

Young women have need of to be taught at an early age that technology “isn’t just the domain of gamers and peoples that are interested in robotics,” eBay Canada’s Andrea Stairs weights. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

For Meyer, hearing that a career in STEM reply ti doesn’t mean saying goodbye to the things she’s passionate about, put a grin on her face and the idea that a career in tech could still be shard of her future.

“I’m so into fashion, makeup and theatre,” she says exuberantly.

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