Campus Party - Women in Technology day

By Caroline Gorski, Managing Partner – Retail and Leisure, Telefónica UK

Campus Party is happening here in the UK all this week at The O2, showcasing the latest technology in action.

Today the theme is Women in Technology – so while many people will be there to see innovations in science, technology and engineering, what I’m hoping to see are more women discovering what technology has to offer as a career.

The days of technology being a dry, ‘geeky’ subject are long past. It’s not just about coding and staring at a screen anymore – now it’s possible to see the impact of technology instantly. Take robotics as an example, which has led to incredible breakthroughs – like the robots built to go into suspected bomb sites, saving lives. Or machines built to aid complex operations in healthcare.

It’s all these possibilities which have given me such a keen interest in IT throughout my life.

My first role following university was building the first website for Oxford University Press’ English Language Division, when the internet and websites were still new, exciting technologies. I later became an analyst, working for Forrester. I helped bridge the gap between business and IT – acting as an interpreter to help business understand the value in IT, and IT understand how they support the business.

While publishing was a fairly female-dominated industry, I discovered when I moved into more ‘pure’ IT organisations that, in contrast, they were more male dominated.

I don’t necessarily see the reason being sexual prejudice. Research shows that women who study science or maths tend to migrate more towards roles where they can see the results of their work making a positive impact, like medicine or veterinary science. But it’s not technology for technology’s sake anymore, and by working closer with schools and universities, the IT sector can help educate young people of all the ways that technology and engineering can make a positive impact on the world.

Telefónica UK puts great focus on diversity, and has its own women’s network, ‘Women In Leadership’. The group enables me to mix with like-minded people, helping me to get inspired.

Campus Party provides that same opportunity. It’s an inspiring platform for women wanting to discover the opportunities that technology can bring. It’s your chance to meet peers, present your ideas and get feedback, and get inspired – there’s nothing as powerful as seeing someone who’s doing it already.

Campus Party is taking place 2-7 September at The O2, London. Thursday 5 September is Women in Technology day. Find out more or sign up here.