A new Bristol-based Women’s Tech Hub has just struck its first deal with co-working space, DeskLodge (pictured, right), to offer ‘Free Three Fridays‘ (F3F) – a laid-back morning meetup and an opportunity to meet and work with other freelance women in tech, as well as experiencing DeskLodge’s working spaces for free.
The Women’s Tech Hub was launched this year to support like-minded women working (or considering working) in tech in the South West, and to encourage collaboration amongst other women’s tech-related groups and the wider tech-industry.
“The tech industry is desperate to recruit more women but doesn’t know how or where to find them”
The hub was co-founded and organised by local women-in-tech advocates Serrie-Justine Chapman and Constance Fleuriot (pictured, above), who have been increasingly concerned with the lack of women working in the tech industry.
We caught up with them to find out more about the Women’s Tech Hub, Free Three Fridays and their future plans to improve the ratio of women in tech.
Women’s Tech Hub
“The tech industry is desperate to recruit more women but doesn’t know how or where to find them,” Serrie explains. “So, at Women’s Tech Hub we want to support women moving back into tech after a break or to move over from other disciplines by organising apprenticeships – both full-time or part-time, and signpost them to training and mentoring programmes.”
“We are interested in encouraging women who might want to rediscover old interests and forge new careers in tech”
“The Women’s Tech Hub will also provide advice to industry. For example, on how to create a workplace culture that encourages and supports women, how to read women’s CVs, how to stop creating blocking points and understand the importance of soft skills”.
“Women’s Tech Hub would also like to have resources to research into what the blockers are for many women’s careers such as conferences which are painfully lacking in women – to support and encourage women to be speakers, and encourage conference organisers to put 50% of women on every panel. No networking means that women are often prevented moving up the career ladder”.
Free Three Fridays
Serrie tells us: “We are interested in encouraging women who might want to rediscover old interests and forge new careers in tech. So that’s women who are in tech, were in tech, want to be in tech – whether working for a company or freelance.”
“We want to share as much knowledge as possible about how to keep women in tech”
“This opportunity was kindly offered to us by DeskLodge who, like us, want to encourage more women to be visible in, and feel comfortable in, shared work spaces. We hope this shared venture will get more women through the DeskLodge doors.”
F3F’s also offers the chance for freelance women to come and work alongside others with similar interests and have the chance to network and support each other. Serrie and Constance tell us how they hope that this could develop into peer-mentoring or even end up as exciting new startups! Constance adds: “We want it to be a face-to-face version of what we will offer on our website – signposting to opportunities”.
As well as F3F’s, Serrie and Constance are hoping to start up their own annual Women’s Tech Hub conference. Serrie explains: “We are having conversations with people in different organisations about developing webinars, workshops and training for our members – both individual women and companies. We want to share as much knowledge as possible about how to keep women in tech.”
The hub is also keen to hear from companies interested in funding its ideas and supporting women in tech, in return the Women’s Tech Hub can provide support with the company’s gender diversity programmes.
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