Focusing on Diversity and Community in Tech
originally posted on Business and Innovation Magazine
OxTech Fest is a new technology conference, taking place virtually on 7th-8th September for its inaugural year in 2021. With panels, speakers, workshops and awards covering a multitude of industries within the wide realm of technology, showing diversity in all aspects is a crucial part of the event.
According to Diversity in Tech, only 15% of the tech workforce in the UK are from BAME backgrounds and gender diversity is only 19%. Whilst there is a long way to go to have a more balanced representation of people working in technology, OxTech Fest is taking the first steps to work towards improving this representation.
This festival aims to show how important diversity is rather than talk about it – there is no denying that the balance of BAME and gender diversity in the workplace isn’t where it should be. What the industry needs now is action – to include underrepresented voices without question, pave the way for new starters from all backgrounds and identities to build their careers and making Tech and STEM subjects accessible at all levels of education. OxTech Fest is making this the focus of the event.
The incredible line of of speakers and panels speak for themselves:
Charlene Hunter, CEO and Founder of Coding Black Females is both a speaker and a member of the 2021 Advisory Board – Charlene was a huge help for establishing that we didn’t want to start a repetitive discussion about why cultural diversity in the workplace is important because it goes without saying. Charlene will be speaking at The New World of Hybrid Working panel at 11.30am on September 8th with Nikki Bartlett (EY) and Sian Gaskell (CubanEight).
On the same day is the Neurodiversity in Tech panel with Steve Hill (Auticon), Afua Halliday (Sky), Heather Payne (Sky) and moderated by Marie-Clare Fenech (Tech for DisAbility). The different ways in which neurodiverse people think can bring a new element of creativity and innovative thinking to many aspects of the technology industry.
Only 16% of autistic adults are in full time paid work despite 77% of unemployed autistic adults stating they want to work (source: Diversity in Tech).
OxTech Fest aims to provide as many networking and employment opportunities as possible and with panels such as this one, showing those who may feel isolated that there are people who are thriving in their workplace and help facilitate the neurodiverse tech community.
Where the event is taking place is hugely important – OxTech Fest will be presented via HopIn – where panels, exhibitor booths and networking opportunities can all take place at once. Making a space that is safe and accessible for anyone of any ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability, with hopes to include live subtitling.
If you have any questions or ideas about making OxTech Fest as inclusive as possible, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To book your FREE ticket for this online event, go to www.oxtechfest.com/tickets