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Good Morning

How are you feeling ready for this week ahead?

My morning routine usually consists of a cup of tea and a scroll through social media, like a true millennial, before cracking down on the To Do lists I set myself containing both personal and professional tasks. What’s your routine and do you feel it’s working?

Be the best version of yourself this week 💪🏻

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Sexism towards STEM YouTube Channels

“Despite progress towards greater equality in STEM, female science communicators on YouTube continue to face bias and social discrimination, impacting their popularity and reception among viewers,” concluded the researchers.

Take a look:

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/rude-youtube-comments-may-explain-lack-of-female-stem-hosts-1.3568086?mode=amp

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Be Grateful?

So whilst I was on the plane back from Rome, I was sitting next to this lovely American girl who was the same age as me, flying to London Luton to then get a lay over to then Iceland and then Chicago! A very long journey for her.

We started chatting about the World Cup and then just introduced ourselves and she told me a bit about why she was flying from Rome back to Chicago where she grew up. She explained how her parents didn’t want to raise children in the Italian economy but wanted the “American Dream”, so they immigrated to Chicago, and how she’d been given the opportunity to go to college and become a teacher because of it and how glad and grateful she is of her parents’ uplifting their lives from Italy, for their future unborn children.

We naturally then went on to talk about Trump’s America and she said she wanted my opinion on how America is now seen because of him becoming President, and later onto Brexit. Throughout the whole conversation though we were able to say things we were grateful for, mainly about education, and it dawned on us that we were actually incredibly lucky to have been born into families and countries that allowed us to go to university and get good jobs etc. Many people like this girl’s parents who migrated from Italy are not so lucky. It’s weird to think it is just down to luck?

I think it’s important to celebrate your achievements, but to also express your gratefulness to how you got there.

What are you grateful for?

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Roman Technology

I’m in Rome at the moment with my family and it’s amazing to think that over 2000 years ago the Romans had the knowledge and technology to create aqueducts and antiquities that weren’t possible elsewhere.

The Pantheon is an amazing structure with a self-supporting roof, the Romans knew to put the heaviest materials at the bottom and lightest at the top. We can all use this analogy when it comes to taking on a modern tech project… solid foundations of heavy code and a database as a base for softer web code to make it look good!

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Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least £5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. 🤓

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

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World Cup Vs Tech

Every event is riddled with technology from the selling of the tickets… to the checking for fraudulent tickets, from being able to show the game live on TV… to giving live updates through mobile apps.

But what is incredible in the 2018 World Cup is the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time, technology is assisting on the pitch alongside humans. This isn’t the first time it is being used in a football tournament, but it is definitely more accepted than in the 2017 FA Cup where players and managers accused it of ruining the art of the game. I can see their point of view, but I also think that embracing this technology is important. There is nothing worse than thinking your team have scored a goal but the referee doesn’t agree… well now the referee is able to go and re-watch what happened to make an informed decision. The technology may not be perfect right now but in time this could truly take the bias out of the game. That is what technology is designed for, to eliminate human error.

In my opinion, we are only going to see more of a technology impact in sport and sporting events with the development of the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality… they are already appearing in some training sessions.

What technology do you think could be used in football/sports?

 

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Meow.

It’s weird how pets or animals in general have an effect on people, that’s why many offices now have a resident dog. 🐶

For me, growing up even when my Mum was really ill and I didn’t want to maybe talk about it to anybody, my cat was always there. He’s been there ‘helping’ me study for GCSEs, laying on my paintings at A-levels to this year stretching over my laptop whilst I write my dissertation 💻

Even though animals can’t speak our language, there’s an unspoken bond which can be very uplifting after a long day at work or in a stressful moment in life.

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Find Someone Who Understands

There’s a lot in the media about the film Oceans 8 at the moment (which I personally can’t wait to see!) but one of the worst things is about having a majority female cast is the rumours that the women all hate each other etc (🙄), which in pop culture happens a lot from Sex and the City to more recent TV and films. Whilst promoting the film Oceans 8, the actresses as part of their publicity are trying to shut down these rumours because they are apparently not true, and even if they were I don’t see how that makes a difference to whether they’ve produced a good film or not?

This is similar in business too, women are seen as “catty” and “bitchy”, and if they get passionate they are told they are too emotional. At the end of the day if you’re delivering your work and achieving what you want to personally achieve, you shouldn’t have to defend your actions because of your gender.

This is where having some one from a mentor to a colleague, who can relate to similar reactions from others or how you feel is important. Not just as a woman in tech or business, but in all walks of life it’s good to have somebody who understands you.

Sadly, there are many reports of suicide in the news at the moment of famous people who for unknown reasons feel that is their only way. There’s many more people every day who take their lives who aren’t reported about.

I personally want to aim to be approachable and personable for others around me, personally or professionally, so if anyone needs someone to understand them, I can try to be that person.

I encourage you all to do the same, because everyone needs that one person who understands.

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Imposter Syndrome

by Sarah Lewis

I was at a couple of tradeshows earlier this week and attended Women in Technology events and almost all the conversations I had were around imposter syndrome.  It really does affect more people than we realise, me included.

The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologist Pauline R Clance and Suzanne A Imes and is a concept which describes people who have an persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.  People who exhibit the syndrome dismiss proof of success by claiming it was luck, timing or even making people think they are more intelligent or competent than they are.

I was introduced to this concept of the syndrome was about 7 years ago while having a session with a career coach.  I was trying to explain my lack of desire to progress my career further.  After chatting, we realised that this apparent lack of ambition was due to my fear of being discovered as a fraud.  The career coach promptly told me that almost every executive he had worked with felt like that from time to time, especially very successful women.

Just that one explanation had a massive effect on me, I wasn’t alone! So I started to look at myself, my career and my personal life and decided to make a change starting with “It’s time to fake it til I make it”.

I still class myself as being on the road to recovery but I wanted to share some of the tips that I wish someone had shared with me way back when.

1. Take time to learn and grow

It is not easy to take time out when we have such busy work and home lives but I found that taking the time to learn something new, work on a skill, understand the business better gave me more confidence and helped me to accept some of my weaker areas.  Strengths Finder is a great book to help this process.

2. Do not compare yourself to others.

I am fortunate to work with some amazingly strong, confident women and would always compare myself to those ladies.  I wasn’t as eloquent, I wasn’t as technical, I wasn’t as good at presenting etc etc.  So, instead of comparing yourself to others, look at your own strengths and focus on those.  You are good at what you do because you are you, and you don’t have to be anyone else.

3. Find a mentor

If you are lucky enough to find a mentor who you respect and admire and who believes in you, you are on to a winner.  You just have to remember, not to try and “be” them and to accept those compliments you are bound to receive.  Please don’t fall into the trap of excusing successes as “lucky breaks” or “team work” – another classic Imposter Syndrome symptom.

4. Learn as you go

There is nothing wrong with taking on a project and feeling out of your depth.  You are smart, you are talented – there is no reason why you cannot research, learn and practice as you go. You’d be amazed how many women just “fell into” tech roles and do not have a tech based education – please don’t let the lack of a technical degree damage your confidence.

5. Speak Out

It’s ok to talk to people about how you are feeling.  Try talking about your imposter feelings, it can help.  I discovered so many women in my circle feel the same way as I do and it really helped me feel less alone.  Try it out!

I’m not psychologist nor an expert on this subject but I hope that some of my tried and tested techniques give you some food for thought.

You can find more of my ramblings as well as curated news from around the web and details on our events at https://twitter.com/TheTechieGirls

Sarah Lewis is Director Field Marketing at Ivanti and the spearhead for Ivanti’s Women in Technology movement.  Sarah started off her tech career in an internal IT support role, moving on into IT Asset Management and was finally lured away into a marketing role where she happily combines technical knowledge with a sprinkle of creativity and indulges in her passion for supporting the women in technology community.