Championing women in the IT sector

Typically, the IT industry and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) roles have been dominated by men for years. As we strive for greater diversity and inclusion within the sector, young women have a key role to play. In this blog, Claire Talbot, VP of IT at SmartestEnergy Limited, discusses why she believes there are fewer women in the industry and how we can encourage the new generation of women to pursue careers in IT.  

With over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, starting my career as a developer and progressing into my current role as Vice President of IT at SmartestEnergy, it is an honour to be nominated for two Women in Tech Excellence awards. I am a mentor with long-standing ties in STEM and Women in Technology groups and I believe in recognising successful women in the industry and providing inspiration for younger women looking to build a career in IT.

Years of gender stereotypes and bias have driven women away from pursuing careers in IT and while diversity is on the rise, it is a known fact that men outnumber women in several fields across STEM. There is a general misconception of what STEM and IT roles look like, along with peer pressure, a lack of support from parents and teachers and a lack of role models. All of which are pushing young girls away from a profession in this field. We must strive for change to make young women aware that there are strong career prospects available in IT and this change starts in schools.

From my experience, most STEM-based activities are directed towards boys; for example, joining an after-school club building a computer programme about monsters would not necessarily appeal to a 10-year-old girl. To see more diverse young women in the industry, greater efforts are needed to extend our community outreach to support schools and other education providers. We must start engaging young girls in IT, extending these learning opportunities and putting those role models in place with female-led STEM activities.

I am serving as a role model because I believe, with our support, we are allowing the next generation of young women to see themselves in a space they might have otherwise dismissed and give them the chance to ignite their interest and ambition with STEM and IT career prospects.

At SmartestEnergy, innovation is at the heart of our IT strategy, with plans to implement new and improved platforms, enhance operational effectiveness and support growth. The future of energy is digitised, decarbonised and localised and we need revolutionary thinkers to help our customers make the most of this new landscape. We hope to welcome more women into these roles at SmartestEnergy and support a future generation where women can enter a space once dominated by men and be equal. A space where they can lead, inspire, and trail blaze.