Women’s Equality Day 2020: observations from the tech field

Bethan James, Account Executive, Touchdown PR

100 years ago today, American women were officially granted the vote, and the 19th Amendment was added to the US Constitution. Today, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day – although traditionally a day to recognise and honour women’s suffrage, it is now much further recognised as an inspiring call to action to accelerate women’s equality in the present day. 

The gender gap is no secret in the technology industry: the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) careers could still be much greater. In 2016, women accounted for less than a third (29.3%) of those employed in scientific research and development across the world, according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Unsurprisingly, this is a big topic in the tech media landscape, and is something that we actively encourage all of our clients to comment on every year – pulling from past and present experiences to add to the wider story. 

However, the UK’s recent A-levels (equivalent to the US AP examinations) results day has given today, and everything it means, a slightly different dimension. After some close analysis of the results, the Touchdown team found that this year, the A-level results actually painted quite a positive picture for girls in STEM…

  • There was a 21.8% increase in the total number of girls taking Computing 
  • 2020 saw an increase in the number of girls taking Maths (+4.8%) and Further Maths (+4.8%) which is notably higher than the overall average (2.5% Maths, 3% Further Maths) 
  • Despite an overall decrease in students taking Chemistry (-5.1%) and Biology (-5.9%), the number of girls decreased significantly less than boys (Chemistry: -4% girls vs -6.4% boys; Biology: -4.3% girls vs -8.7% for boys)

With these more encouraging statistics in mind, this year, Touchdown spoke to our female clients working in STEM to get their take on why acknowledging Women’s Equality Day in relation to this field is so important. They gave their opinion on the day, their advice to young girls considering a career in STEM, and their own personal experience working in the sector. Despite all heralding from different backgrounds and working in different roles, the overarching sentiment of our clients’ commentary was that we are all responsible for encouraging girls into studying STEM subjects further at education level. 

Armed with these insights, the team reached out to top-tier tech trade and Human Resources publications in the UK, and secured coverage in Business Reporter, Training Journal and DiversityQ. Not only did this position our clients in-front of their target audience, but it gave an extremely valuable voice to the women in tech who can help to encourage more girls into the field.    

On a more personal note, Touchdown is proud to champion the sentiment that tech is not just a man’s game in our own way. With over two-thirds of all our staff being female and two-thirds female senior management, we are living proof that tech PR is a place for women to have a successful career. 

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