They believe digital has the potential to open doors for women, girls and other marginalised groups, and contribute to the elimination of all forms of disparity and inequality, but sadly the gender gap in digital access persists; women remain underrepresented in STEM education and careers, which acts as a further barrier to their participation in digital design and governance. This International Women’s Day, UN Women and the UN are calling on governments, activists and the private sector to make digital safer, more inclusive and more equitable. In line with this theme, our founder Amy shares here what she’s learnt in her move from social work to digital, hoping to encourage other women contemplating a similar change to take the leap.
What motivated you to join the digital sector?
“My motivation to provide the best possible support to people in mental health crisis emerged from my experience of mental health services as a young carer from age 12, and it’s remained the same throughout my career even though it’s taken different forms. It led to me qualifying as a mental health social worker in 2009, then an approved mental health professional (AMHP) in 2011. As an AMHP, I was frustrated with the paper processes I was using in my role, which took my time and focus away from supporting people in crisis; I felt sure technology could provide a better way and this led to me founding S12 Solutions in 2017. Today, that motivation drives me to work with my team, with help from the mental health professionals working with us, to look for new ways to leverage digital to make Mental Health Act processes easier and more efficient, so my peers and other mental health professionals can devote more of their time and skills to supporting people.”
What advice would you give women contemplating a career in digital?
“Firstly, the digital sector is male dominated but don’t let this put you off; the men I’ve met on this journey have been very welcoming and appreciative of women’s contribution in this space. Secondly, don’t let a lack of digital experience put you off either. When I started out, I had an idea but I didn’t know anything about technology or the digital sector; people won’t expect you to have all the answers, but if you have a vision, you’re willing to listen and learn, and you surround yourself with digital expertise, you can succeed. Don’t forget there’s a variety of different jobs in digital, all with equally diverse skills requirements; there will be a role in digital that suits your strengths.
Finally, I imagine for some women, the thought of juggling family life with a job in digital might feel daunting. In my experience, the digital sector is largely comfortable with remote working and flexible hours, so it may be easier to balance your personal and professional needs than you may think.”
How do we encourage more women into the digital sector?
“I think female representation is really important, and it’s also critical that those of us in the space are transparent about our experience. I think this would help women appreciate that the skills they’ve developed in other jobs or life roles are adaptable, transferable and valuable to the digital sector. I also hope it would encourage women to feel more confident in their ability to learn new skills.
I also think it’s really helpful for women in the digital sector to be transparent about their reality. Greater acceptance of remote working was a positive to come from the pandemic in my view; remote working meant we got to see the fullness of people’s lives, the child peeping around the door, perhaps the elderly parent someone is caring for; this is critical because it sends the message that you don’t have to fragment yourself, you can work in and bring value to the digital sector, while holding on to all the other important aspects of yourself too – you can bring you whole self to work.”
Find out more about UN Women’s and the UN’s International Women’s Day campaign: visit unwomen.org
About S12 Solutions
S12 Solutions is the only platform that supports the mental health crisis care pathway from the point of referral for Mental Health Act (MHA) assessment, to admission to hospital. The platform has evolved with changing health and social care needs to become the only system able to provide the following features:
- MHA Assessment Team organisation
- Claim creation and submission
- Claim payment
- Electronic Statutory MHA Forms
Get in touch: Contact S12 Solutions