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GSMA Inspires New Generation of ‘Connected Women’ to Consider Careers in Technology

by david.nunes

GSMA Inspires New Generation of ‘Connected Women’ to Consider Careers in Technology

East London Schoolgirls Get Hands-on with 3D Printing on Girls in ICT Day

The GSMA today hosted an interactive 3D printing and “upcycling” technology workshop to celebrate Girls in ICT Day1, the ITU’s annual initiative to create a global environment that empowers young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in school and encourages young women to consider careers in ICT. A class of Year 8 (12-13 year-old) schoolgirls from east London school The Bridge Academy2 visited FabLab London, a purpose-built digital fabrication and prototyping workspace in the heart of the City, to gain hands-on experience and insights from successful leaders in technology.

GSMA Chief Strategy Officer Hyunmi Yang was joined by several additional inspirational speakers from across the industry, including:

·         Tony Fish, Co-founder, FabLab London

·         Karen Gaskill, Apprentice at Wirebox

·         Laura Paterson, Senior Consultant, ThoughtWorks

·         Francesca Rosella, Chief Creative Officer, Cute Circuit

Each speaker shared their personal career experiences in the world of technology, the benefits of working in this dynamic ICT industry, and ways that young women can get involved while still in school. The GSMA also worked with groups of students to mentor them for the morning and provide hands-on experience with mobile technology and 3D printing.

“We are delighted to support the GSMA in celebrating this year’s Girls in ICT Day,” said Stephen Foster, Principal, The Bridge Academy. “Offering our students opportunities to be successful and to flourish, both now and in the future, is our aim at The Bridge Academy. This includes embracing the many exciting options available to them in the mobile industry and across the wider technology sector.”

“Just 30 per cent of the seven million people working in the European Union’s ICT sector are women3, so there is still much more to be done to encourage girls to choose a career path in technology, not only in Europe but across the globe,” said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer, GSMA. “Mobile is now at the centre of our everyday lives, offering women many new ways to contribute to the fast-developing digital economy. With today’s event and the GSMA’s Connected Women programme, we want to spotlight the many career opportunities available for women in the telecommunications industry.”

The schoolgirls tested their creative and technical skills through a range of activities at FabLab, including:

·         3D Printing and Design – The group was taken on a journey from designing 3D shapes and concepts to seeing them become a reality using a 3D printer, laser cutting and milling;

·         Upcycling Technology – FabLab educated the schoolgirls on the science behind mobile device components and how they can be recycled, as well as how to create items like jewellery using recycled hardware; and

·         Milling and Engraving – The schoolgirls learnt how to use a milling machine to create highly specialised parts in various shapes and sizes, as well as personalise their creations with engravings.

“Hands-on activities like 3D printing show young people that working with technology can be both fun and rewarding. When schoolchildren see that they can create technology and put it to use immediately, it opens their minds to opportunities they never previously considered. We are excited to help support Girls in ICT Day,” said Tony Fish, Co-founder, FabLab London.

Recent research from the Institution of Engineering and Technology4 reveals that 39 per cent of UK schoolgirls said they enjoyed ICT and computing, with the same percentage also enjoying design and technology. However, despite the fact that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects seem to be popular among girls, only 6 per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK is actually female.

According to a 2015 GSMA study by A.T. Kearney, just 25 per cent of women in Europe have science and engineering degrees5. The GSMA Connected Women initiative places the mobile industry at the forefront of accelerating the rise of the female economy. This includes working with key stakeholders to close the ICT skills gender gap in order to attract and retain female talent and encourage female leadership in industry. The programme also addresses the gaps in female participation and skills that have the potential to hold back productivity and commercial success.

To find out more about the GSMA Connected Women initiative, visit www.gsma.com/events/connected-women.

1 For more information about Girls in ICT Day, visit http://girlsinict.org

2 The Bridge Academy is in Hackney, one of the most deprived communities in London. 65 per cent of the students are eligible for Pupil Premium (Free School Meals) and 75 per cent of the Sixth Form would be first in their family to go to university. The Bridge is supported by global financial institution UBS. The purpose of the UBS / Bridge Academy partnership is to ensure that all Bridge students are prepared for the world of work and higher education – with the qualifications, employability skills, confidence and aspirations they need to reach their potential. Last year, over 700 UBS employees volunteered at The Bridge Academy.

3 http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/women-ict

4 http://www.theiet.org/policy/media/press-releases/20150330.cfm

5 Accelerating the digital economy: Gender diversity in the telecommunications sector:http://www.atkearney.com/documents/10192/5580445/Connected+Women+2015-WDReport.pdf/d3c08b0a-fab6-431c-80c0-0d332b9e882d

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

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