Half the UK’s population are women, but the proportion of women in the IT/coding and cyber workforce is only about 12%. This is why, since its inception in 2014, Cyber Girls First (CGF) has attempted to demystify the idea that only boys can succeed in IT. The charity does this by holding events at universities and corporate offices – and even at 10 Downing Street – where girls aged 11-14 are given insights into the careers open to them, and are introduced to inspirational female role models, in the hope that they choose to study computer science for their GCSEs.
To date, 3,080 girls have attended these events, with a further 120 girls taking part in two virtual careers events.
With Covid restrictions now eased, CGF was able to host the first of its in-person events for two years. Without funding from the WCIT Charity, the event in Blackpool could not have taken place as the grant paid for the hire of the Winter Gardens and a hot lunch for the girls and presenters.
During the day, participants heard from leading women who were enjoying careers in cyber security and from GCHQ about the importance of computer science qualifications. They were also introduced to the Launch Your Career platform, which uses virtual reality to give rich and immersive careers guidance and insights.
Stefan Fafinski, Chair of the WCIT Charity, commented:
“We were particularly pleased to support the work of Cyber Girls First in inspiring girls to consider a career in IT. There is a significant underrepresentation of women in our industry, so events like this will really help to start redressing the balance.”
Cyber Girls First plan to run a further six events later this year.