Kicking myself as Lady Geek catches the IT bug

Less than one in five technology jobs are held by women. A new book, by an old friend, should make employers, parents and teachers sit up.

Share
Related Topics

“Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies”. Gore Vidal's words crossed my mind last week when a book landed upon my desk. Little Miss Geek: Bridging the Gap Between Girls and Technology is partly a lament about the paucity of women in the technology industry but also a manifesto for girls, companies, colleges and schools, a road map to changing the fact that only 17 per cent of the work force in technology is female. It's witty, fascinating, and written by an acquaintance of mine, ad woman Belinda Parmar.

The reason why I died a little bit inside? I briefly blogged for her on her Lady Geek website and remember her talking about her wish to write this book. My full-time job got in the way of the part-time crusade to open up the world of technology to women, which is why I'm thrilled that Belinda kept her eyes on the prize – as well as being the author of Little Miss Geek, her agency consults with companies about how they advertise to women (she hates the “pink it and shrink it” approach as much as I do) and she is moving into technology recruitment – but obviously incredibly jealous.

Still, even though I didn't have the vision that Belinda had four years ago, I'm catching up now. Her book charts the early years of Little Miss Geek, a girl who, as the introduction to the book explains “takes her first blinking look at the gadget-filled world she's been brought into... she has the power to do anything.

Unfortunately, statistics say that, right now, it probably won't have anything to do with technology. Thanks to the preconceptions of parents, teachers, employers and girls themselves, technology isn't often an appealing prospect for girls. This matters because, as Belinda puts it, less than one in five jobs in technology are held by women. “In any industry that would be disappointing. In the industry that's shaping the future of mankind, it's downright criminal”.

One of my favourite parts of the book is a drawing done by a schoolgirl of what an IT worker looks like – a bearded bloke in geeky glasses.

Although, obviously, not every young girl thinks IT is just for guys, the picture is funny because it's true. And while my 10-year-old step-daughter is planning to be a graphic designer “working on a really cool Mac”, her second career choice (“looking after kittens”) isn't quite so tech-friendly. Employers, school teachers and parents: read this book. Meanwhile, I'll be the one kicking myself in the corner.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistants needed in Salford

£12000 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you an...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Teaching Assistants needed in Wigan

£12000 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you an...

Biology Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Biology Teacher for fixed term contrac...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Retail store Joy has sparked a social media backlash with its response to a customer who said one of its cards is offensive to people with bipolar  

Hey Joy, mocking people with bipolar isn't funny — it's offensive

Ellabell Risbridger
 

Ed Miliband is so scared of becoming Tony Blair he has forgotten how to communicate

Lance Price
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments