- The Now+Next initiative is a partnership between Mixpanel, Candyspace, Airship, Braze and AB Tasty
- In partnership with Founders4Schools, Now+Next has worked with 17 schools to encourage young women to explore careers in technology and STEM
- The association has held events and hosted students for work experience in the UK
LONDON, June 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — While gender diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) is increasing, women remain a minority in the science and technology industries, making up only 24% of the overall STEM workforce in the UK. The computer science industry has one of the largest gender imbalances, with only 19% of the workforce consisting of women.
In order to encourage more women to pursue careers in technology, leading technology companies have teamed up to launch the Now+Next association. Since its inception in 2022, Now+Next has reached over 4,000 young women across 17 schools in the UK to encourage them to explore careers in technology and STEM fields. Through these student-employer encounters, they seek to improve the employment chances of young people and support businesses in developing their talent pipeline.
Connecting girls with female tech leaders
The association launched in 2022 as a collaboration between leading product analytics company Mixpanel, digital product design and build experts Candyspace and mobile experience company Airship, with the objective to inspire the next generation of female technology leaders. They partnered with Founders4Schools, an award-winning charity that bridges the gap between education and the world of work. The charity connects young people with inspirational volunteer role models to share their career journeys and what led them into their industry.
The Now+Next scheme was designed to challenge the gender biases and stereotypes that girls and young women are exposed to from a young age. It aims to help tackle the gender gap in the technology industry by providing girls with exposure to female technology leaders early on, inspiring them to make informed decisions about their future during critical early periods of their education.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
To mark International Women’s Day 2023, Now+Next hosted an event in London that saw over 30 students from three schools attend. The main objective of the event was to encourage girls to pursue careers in data, design, and technology and to choose STEM subjects for A-Levels. The day started with an introductory presentation which framed the landscape of gender inequalities in science and technology and provided an overview of how the partners work together.
This was followed by breakout sessions hosted by each technology partner in which the girls were able to pitch to clients about how they would solve problems, and learn about the different journeys women have taken to end up in the technology industry. They then had the chance to network before the day wrapped up with a leadership panel featuring female leaders from the technology partners.
Beyond hosting events for students, the partners have also invited female students to complete work experience placements to gain a hands-on understanding of the technology industry. Since launching Now+Next, Mixpanel has hosted six students for work experience. During the placement, the girls learnt about the different career paths at Mixpanel and in product analytics and were given a case study assignment to complete. Candyspace also runs a work experience programme which gives each participant the chance to design and build their own iPhone app under the guidance of their digital experts. Tasks throughout the programme include conducting user research, generating concepts, creating visual designs, coding, testing and presenting the finished product.
Bridging the gender divide
Despite the progress made in recent years, there are still many barriers to girls entering the technology industry. Girls are often discouraged from pursuing STEM subjects due to societal expectations and gender biases that suggest STEM is a ‘male’ domain. This gender imbalance limits innovation and creativity in the tech industry, as diverse perspectives are needed to solve complex problems, meaning increasing the representation of women in tech is not only important for gender equality, but also for the industry’s growth and development.
By offering opportunities to experience the industry and providing female role models to look up to, Now+Next hopes to enable girls and young women to see technology as a viable career path. By breaking down these barriers and encouraging more girls to pursue careers in tech, we can create a more inclusive and innovative tech industry for the future.
Natalie Kouzeleas, GM & RVP of Mixpanel EMEA, commented, “Now+Next has developed into a key pillar of Mixpanel’s diversity and inclusion strategy in EMEA. Seeing the initiative grow both in terms of membership and impact is hugely satisfying on both a personal and professional level. It’s a demonstration of how even small companies can make a real impact if they work together with a shared vision.”
As a founding member of the Now+Next association, Airship’s mission is to inspire young women by helping them understand possibilities, providing connections, and supporting experiences in data, design, and technology. The Now+Next program is one example of Airship’s DEI focus on talent, workforce, and community impact by reinforcing our commitments and year-round efforts to uplift the industries and communities we serve across the globe. Collaborating with other leaders on this important work shows how much strength there is in numbers. Airship aims to reduce gender bias in its people experience practices to have an inclusive workforce representation and create an environment that better supports and encourages young women interested in pursuing a career in technology.
Marjorie Armitage, EMEA General Manager at Braze, commented, “Braze is thrilled to have joined the Now+Next initiative this year. We feel very passionate about supporting women’s representation in our company and in the tech industry at all levels. We are motivated to educate girls in the UK about careers in tech, through sharing our own employees’ journey into the industry and experiences along the way. Through our partnership with Now&Next, we aim to educate young women about the wealth of opportunities available to them within the Technology industry. Empowering them to explore these opportunities and become the female leaders of tomorrow.”