Girls and women inspired to try out a tech career on Ada Lovelace Day

On Tuesday 13 October, Engine Shed and SETsquared Bristol were delighted to host their third ‘Inspiring Women and Girls In STEAM’ event, in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day.

Ada Lovelace, a 19th century mathematician, is widely credited as the first computer programmer, and best known for her work with Charles Babbage to develop the ‘Analytical Engine’ computer.

The virtual event saw a diverse audience, including teachers and schoolchildren, come together to listen to a panel of women in STEAM talk about their careers, ranging from sustainability consultant to company founder.

Hosted by KETS Quantum Security COO, Caroline Clark, the panel were Ajara Pfannenschmidt, User Experience Designer and Information Architect, Chen Mao Davies, founder & CEO LatchAid, Lily Manzoni, Head of Research and Development, LettUs Grow and Sara Telahoun, Sustainability Consultant for Cities at Anthesis Group.

The panel were asked questions ranging from ‘what global issues can tech solve?’ to ‘what advice can you offer teachers to encourage girls to choose STEAM’?

Their stories illustrated that they all came into tech and coding in different ways and times but valued their jobs for their diversity of topics and skills and ability to make good change in the world.

When asked what one piece of advice they would offer for girls to get into tech, Lily said “As women are not represented well in STEAM, you have to really go for it and be confident”. Chen spoke about not being afraid of change and trying something you’ve never done before, acknowledging that she set up a new business with a 9-week-old baby and had to ask lots of questions before she eventually became a business woman.

The event concluded with Caroline encouraging the teachers in the audience to expose and inspire schoolchildren with current examples of women in tech who are solving global issues.

Lorraine Fairbanks, Partnerships Manager said: “Engine Shed is committed to supporting a diverse workforce for the future. This event, with its inspiring line-up of women speakers, was an inspiring demonstration to girls, young women, and those early on in their career, that tech and entrepreneurship are exciting and accessible career paths.”

The event was followed by a free Python poetry generator coding workshop by University of Bristol Digimakers team.