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NZ not alone in struggling to attract tech women


New Zealand is not alone in attracting and retaining women in tech, a leading tech specialist says.

Andrea Hancox, NZTech’s national director of government relations, says the whole world faces the issue of attracting and retaining women in tech and introducing tech to young women as a choice of career.

The Ministry of Women has released a guide Decoding Diversity targeted at attracting and retaining girls and women in tech education. The guide is for secondary school teachers, university lecturers, code club volunteers and other community group leaders, potential employers, career advisors, industry professionals, recruitment personnel, students and parents.

Hancox says she is passionate about attracting more Kiwi females into tech careers. NZTech along with NZRise, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and Ministry for Women are about to release a campaign focused on encouraging women into tech careers.

“Studies show more diverse organisations deliver better revenue and profitability, a clear sign tech is a great career for women. Tech companies often don’t reflect the customers they are trying to sell to and therefore under-represent their reach and capabilities.

“The business case for greater gender balance is strong. Tech firms that have equal number of women and men are up to 40 percent more profitable. Women make up 51 percent of the population.

“I appeal to all families, schools, organisations and companies to encourage females into tech. It will make a huge positive economic difference for New Zealand.

“Feedback from a lot of young women I have spoken to, say there are often only a few other females in their tech class. They are often assigned the less technical tasks by their male students making them feel less valued. This must change. If tech is what young women want to study then go it. It will be a fantastic and highly-paid career.

“We need to look at parents, teachers, principals, career guidance counsellors and caregivers what advice are they giving young women today on their career choices when they leave school. What do they know about the technology sector and why it’s so important to encourage students to consider a career in tech,” Hancox says.

NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says it’s vital for New Zealand’s economic future that more women participate fully in technology.

“The first challenge is to inspire and excite more students, parents, teachers and principals about digital technology and the opportunities it creates for fulfilling careers,” he says.

Photo: NZTech government relations director, Andrea Hancox

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TechWomen TechWomen is a group of passionate New Zealand tech, digital and ICT focused individuals from leading organisations that work together, with the support of NZTech, to help address the shortage of women in tech roles.