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IWD2016: Celebrating Manchester’s Great Girl Geeks

7th March, 2016

For over a century, Manchester has been home to some of the most pioneering women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine. The STEM timeline is scattered with ground-breaking females with a Manchester connection - from Marie Stopes in 1904 who became a Lecturer in Palaeobotany at the University of Manchester, a post that gave her the accolade of first female academic of the University as well as being best known for her role in developing birth control for women.

Through to the present with Dame Nancy Rothwell, a British physiologist, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester - the first woman to hold the post and still the only woman holding the position as Vice-Chancellor in the Russell Group. Nancy is also a director of AstraZeneca and co-chair of the Council for Science and Technology and has played a significant role in championing women in STEM in Manchester and throughout the world.

In tech, Manchester born Nicola Mendelsohn was appointed as Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Facebook in 2013. She holds the most senior position at the social media giant outside of the United States.

We’re proud to be part of a city with such an inspirational track record of supporting women in science and technology. There’s still some way to go though and even today, we’re fairly unusual as a female led digital company. The hope is that that an increasing number of initiatives and events championing women in the industry will continue to see the balance shift over the next few years.  Right now, we are particularly excited for the fast approaching International Women’s Day Manchester and Wonder Women 2016, Manchester’s Feminist Festival, with each event featuring a number of talks and classes on women in tech. Here’s a selection of events taking place this week:

Wonder Women 2016 Roundtable Discussion
When: Tuesday 8 March, 2.15 – 4.15pm
Where: Central Library
What: This event will hold a thought provoking and inspiring discussion between powerful female change-makers and leaders in their fields across a range of sectors. (Please note: this is a closed event)

Women in Tech
When: Tuesday 8 March, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Where: The Fitzgerald
What: This event will feature talks from five female leaders in digital and tech on a topic of their choice. Attendees will then split off into group sessions led by the speakers to discuss each topic and come up with their #PledgeforParity.

Digital Skills for Women 2016 Taster Day
When: Tuesday 8 March, 10am – 4pm
Where: MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester
What: This taster day will give women the opportunity to learn new skills in coding and programming, and speak to industry professionals about gaining and furthering a career in the technology sector.

With #PledgeforParity as the theme for this year’s IWD, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015 predicting it will take another 117 years for there to be gender parity in the workplace, it’s becoming increasingly important for the issue of gender equality in our industry to be addressed. We’re very much looking forward to supporting the Manchester community at the events in the week ahead – hope to see you there!