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Women in tech: ShadowTech event to create opportunity

Several high profile Kiwi tech firms will be giving young New Zealand female students the opportunity to be mentored at the upcoming ShadowTech Day events, which are held around the country next month. 

Edwina Mistry, NZTech organiser, says ShadowTech is one of the few programmes around that are empowering, educating and creating opportunities for New Zealnd schoolgirls to learn firsthand by connecting with industry and mentors.

“This enables the girls to go back to school and seriously review their subject choices and career opportunities,” Mistry says. “Being mentored for a day helps to ignite interest and encourage young females to consider careers in the tech industry."

The first ShadowTech Day for 2019 will be held in Auckland on 7 June, with more than 200 schoolgirls taking part around the city.

More ShadowTech events will be held in Christchurch on June 11, in Palmerston North on June 14, Dunedin on June 18 and in Hamilton on June 27, bringing the total to almost 500 girls involved.

Mistry says several businesses and organisations are involved in ShadowTech. "They see the value it has and how they are able to influence the future workforce of the tech industry in New Zealand, and by creating more diversity in the workplace," she says. 

Among the dozens of companies taking part include Spark, Xero, Jade Software, Deloitte, Oracle and ClearPoint.

Mistry says the New Zealand tech sector has an 'ongoing need' for employees, yet women are in the minority. "They occupy only a quarter of tech jobs overall," she says. 

"It is vital for New Zealand’s economic future that more women participate fully in technology. This means encouraging more women to participate in tertiary level study, including at the highest levels," says Mistry.

"The more highly educated women are, the better their job and the higher the pay. More women into tech will create greater diversity in the workplace."

NZTech is encouraging more females to consider a career in technology and it wants to help increase the number of females who choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related subjects at a secondary and tertiary level.

“The benefits of ShadowTech Day really help the New Zealand tech industry. ShadowTech Day inspires schoolgirls to get into a tech career."