Alison McLaughlin discusses how to bridge the digital gender gap on Digital Leaders TV

Sopra Steria's Head of Public Sector, Industry and Services, Alison McLaughlin was a guest on Digital Leaders TV on Tuesday 11 November. The hour long programme discussed the reasons for the lack of women in digital and the technological workforce.

Stereotypes, biases and working practices were identified as key reasons why women are choosing to forgo a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Alison gave her thoughts on how best to encourage women to study STEM and increase female participation in digital: "There's nothing that we do in the world anymore that doesn't have a digital element; there is a huge opportunity for people to get engaged in that. It's about what it can do and the difference it can make. I think if there was more of a focus on that and what science can achieve, that might engage more women. At Sopra Steria, thirty percent of our graduate intakes were women over the last two years. We make a point of having a mix of men and women in our teams when we are at recruitment fairs or recruiting."

Other guest speakers included Kate Russell (Host- BBC Click), Jacqueline De Rojas (Area Vice President & General Manager of Citrix Systems in Northern Europe) and Ann Watson (Chief Operating Officer, Semta).

The speakers stressed the importance of encouraging the study of STEM for future proofing the UK economy* and how the lack of female representation in STEM careers and STEM undergraduate courses clearly has a knock on effect in the digital sector with female representation at just 16%.

Click here to watch the full episode of Digital Leaders TV

Click here to watch the abridged episode of Digital Leaders TV

About the Digital Leaders Programme

The Digital Leaders programme serves as an independent focal point of engagement and resource network for individuals and organisations across the UK and beyond who are committed to delivering sustainable and innovative digital transformation. Sopra supports Digital Leaders in Scotland and Northern Ireland and is helping to expand the digital network and make it more representative of the wide views surrounding digital transformation by providing opportunities for digital leaders to meet locally.

* Science and engineering are major contributors to the prosperity of the United Kingdom contributing around £800bn a year to the UK economy and 10% of the world's top scientific research.