Shining a Light on Diversity in Tech!
I was recently asked to give a short speech at a Parliament Internet, Comms and Tech Forum APPG event designed to shine a light on diversity in tech. Around 15 other people from many different backgrounds shared their stories, including Black Tech UK encouraging young black people to get involved in tech, Women Like Me creating safe spaces for women to grow together, Love Language ensuring tech is co-designed with deaf people and SeriesQ empowering LGBT+ entrepreneurs in the startup arena.
I came away from the event inspired and hopeful. We have so much untapped potential and must take action to really use digital as a disrupter to build a better more equal future, one which genuinely values the full and rich diversity of talent we have in the UK. It was clear that to do this, everyone must play their role, government, big and small cross sector organisations, civil society and each of us in our professional and personal lives.
Here is my speech on Good Things Foundation campaign to bridge the digital divide:
I believe that tech can be used to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and excluded people in our country and that is what truly Inclusive tech means to me.
I am privileged to work for Good Things Foundation, an digital-social charity with powerful women tech industry leaders in the Chair and CE position, with a majority female senior management team and with many female rising stars across the organisation.
We have an ambitious vision of a world where everyone benefits from digital. We have a mountain to climb! In this country alone there is a staggering 11.3 million people aren’t able to send an email, fill out a form or search for information online. This means not being able to search and compare for the best prices, pay your bills, access welfare benefits or even apply for a job. People are £544 a year worse off simply by not being online. This group of people are more likely to be older, poorer and disabled and it is clear they are increasingly being left behind.
This does not make sense morally or economically. We have recently published research to show that if we take no further action, digital exclusion will cost the economy £22 billion by 2028.
Good Things Foundation has spent the last decade working with a network of community organisations we call Online Centres and using digital tools such as our Learn My Way platform to help over 2.4m people to go online. People like Ron who went from sleeping in a tent by a motorway cooking noodles and coffee by candlelight, to having a home, employment and access to the right health services through our support.
We are in uncertain and challenging times and at a crossroads in history. Digital has the potential to be an enabler of compassionately connected society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and flourish.
Good Things Foundation would like to ask each and every one of you to join us in our campaign to Bridge the Digital Divide and help Britain to become the first 100% digitally included country in the world. .
Parliament, Industry, and the Social Sector all have a part to play and here is how you and your organisations can get involved:
- You can go to the Good Things Foundation Website and Make a Pledge
- You can embed digital inclusion in all your plans whether it be digital by default public services or a new app you can take action to mitigate the negative consequences for people who are not currently online
- You can become a champion for digital and social inclusion at work and in your personal life
A UN Report last week warned we are at risk of losing the British Values of Community, Justice and Fairness.