Newcastle MPs, Chi Onwurah and Catherine McKinnell, joined forces to sign the ‘HER in Hero’ pledge at an event organised by the Little Miss Geek campaign in Parliament last week.
Joined by almost forty of their Parliamentary colleagues, Catherine and Chi backed Little Miss Geek’s pledge to celebrate our female heroes of the past and present, in order to inspire young girls to become our female heroes of the future. The event was held ahead of Ada Lovelace Day on 15th October – an annual celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Currently, the UK’s tech workforce is only 17% female, and over the last 10 years this has been dropping by 0.5% each year. Little Miss Geek estimates that, if the UK continues at this rate, by 2043 there will be less than 1% women working in technology despite more women being big consumers of technology. Little Miss Geek is therefore providing resources to teachers so they can incorporate female heroes into the curriculum and their assemblies. The campaign is asking for schools across the UK to host a HER in Hero assembly, and has already reached 5,000 girls.
Speaking after the event, Chi said:
‘As an engineer myself I know just how important it is to celebrate women in STEM to encourage more girls to take up these great careers. I’ll be speaking at the Finding Ada celebrations tonight and doing everything I can to put the Her into Hero.’
‘The North East is world-famous, both for its proud engineering heritage and for our cutting edge innovation and technology today. But, by not having enough women and girls going into this exciting and vital area of work, we are losing out on a massive talent pool. We must encourage and develop and the Georgina Stephensons of the future if the North East, and the UK, is to reach its full potential – and I am delighted to join Chi in backing the Little Miss Geek pledge.’