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How to rise to the challenges of big data and diversity

Divina Paredes | Oct. 12, 2016
For Dexibit founder and CEO Angie Judge, celebrating Ada Lovelace Day is just one way to help encourage women into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.

“I think that is just about sharing stories and getting them really excited about the opportunities with careers in STEM, in terms of travel and science and research and career progression.”

Judge is a volunteer mentor for the First Foundation, an educational trust that helps outstanding students from low decile schools to transform their lives through tertiary education. The young New Zealanders get financial assistance, paid work experience or mentoring.

Everyone can do “their little bit” to encourage diversity in the sector, she says.

“What we can do, whether we are parents, teachers, employers or even investors, is to be mindful about ‘unconscious bias’,” she states. “How do we overcome it?”

She cites, for instance, looking at data science as a career pathway. She points out how pop culture, like television’s House of Cards, shows data scientists as middle-aged men.

That is something a young woman choosing a career can not identify with, she says.

“That is where unconscious bias sets in. You are surrounded by images in pop culture. You have a picture in your head of these types of people and these are not helping you to make decisions, or encourage you to shift career pathways into STEM.

“Getting over that and being aware of and questioning it, pushing it and making a really conscious effort to promote [a STEM career] is important,'' she concludes.

At a Microsoft Girls in Tech event, Angie Judge shows off her sword collection to Indigo Parker.
At a Microsoft Girls in Tech event, Angie Judge shows off her sword collection to Indigo Parker.

 

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