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Championing women in tech at Queen Mary University of London

On International Women’s Day, Queen Mary is proud to announce a new event that is set to champion, encourage and inspire women to bring their skills to the technology sector. Queen Mary with the support of the Institute of Coding will host Athena 2019 – on 13-14 April 2019.

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The tech sector is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy and government research suggests that more than 500,000 highly trained computer scientists will be needed by 2022 to satisfy the demand in the economy and to keep the UK at the forefront of digital innovation. Many will need a wider skills base to be more attractive to employers, but with female programmers and software developers currently making up just 3.9 per cent of tech and telecommunications professionals in the UK, narrowing the digital skills gap by attracting more women to the tech industry and boosting equality in the sector is especially important.

Working with ShowCode, a competitive coding platform, Queen Mary will provide an opportunity for women already in tech to showcase their talent to industry and to encourage others to consider tech-related education and careers and prepare for an increasingly digital workplace.

Isobel Bates, Institute of Coding Programme Manager at Queen Mary, said: “We are delighted to host this event that showcases the skills of women in Digital Technology, too often underrated in this country.”

An interactive weekend

Students, employees, industry leaders and academics from around the U.K. will participate in an interactive weekend of technology, featuring beginner-friendly coding workshops for curious computing novices delivered by Makers, an established software engineering bootcamp; a careers fair with representatives from the tech industry; and talks from women who are leading the way in the tech sector – Joy Foster, founder of Tech Pixies, Angelique Vu, Chair of FT Women, Lynsey Campbell, Executive Director at J.P. Morgan and more.

For more experienced coders, an all-female Hackathon in support of Plastic Oceans UK will be the focus of the event. Teams will use their digital skills to create an app, digital demonstration or digital platform to put forward solutions to the worldwide plastic crisis. It is anticipated that the competition will reveal some exceptional talent, and with high-value prizes on offer as well as the opportunity to pitch to potential investors, it is also expected to be a hard-fought competition.

Tackling a global issue

Will Knight, Co-Founder of ShowCode, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with some fantastic organisations to champion, encourage and inspire women in technology through our Athena 2019 event. Athena Hack will be the main event of the weekend and will bring together a group of talented technologists to help support a global issue. With Plastic Oceans UK on-board as our charity partner the hackathon participants have an opportunity to come up with some innovative concepts to help solve the plastic crisis that is currently plaguing our world. We cannot wait to welcome all our attendees down to Queen Mary University of London on the 13th April!”

Athena 2019 is supported by J.P.Morgan, Makers, Plastic Oceans, and the Institute of Coding as well as Queen Mary, University of London.

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