Did you know that due to stereotypes all around us, research show girls decide "they don't like maths and they don't like tech" at the age of 6?!

That's why we need Tech London Advocates (thank you Russ Shaw), & Women in Tech (thank you Sarah & Nikki). 

What I love about Women in Tech is it's very action-oriented approach.
Visit the website to see what I mean:

"LONDON'S MOVEMENT FOR GENDER EQUALITY IN THE GLOBAL TECH INDUSTRY"

Wow.

On the website you see the starting point is awareness.

It's amazing what awareness can do.

When you become aware of how dire a situation is, unless you're a completely heartless human being, you'll probably want to change it.

And when you become aware of how women are often excluded in the tech sector, you realise it makes bad business sense.

So here are some things people should be aware of:

- Research by McInsey shows that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to be profitable than non-gender diverse companies

- In terms of a GROWTH MARKET, the growth market for women is TWICE the growth market for China and India combined!

Sure, get on a plane to China.

But maybe also think about targeting a market much closer to home.

Maybe DON'T ignore 50% of your prospective talent pool.

And of course women are more than 50% of your potential market: women are responsible for 80% of consumer spending decisions, even when they're not actually in the shop... (Because we're everywhere!)

Growing awareness of this fact - that women drive consumer spending - has made me more and more popular.

To be honest, in the past, being a Diversity Executive wasn't so much fun.

The phone never rang.

These days it rings off the hook.

People are suddenly like, "wow, diversity can make me rich!"

And that's fine.

Of course there's the moral side of the equation, which is simply that everyone who has talent and works hard, should have the same chance to succeed.

You shouldn't lose your career because you're the wrong gender or colour.

Or because you have a disability, or are LGBT, or because your parents don't have networks.

That's why people come up with diversity policies.

But people don't realise it's not just companies that have diversity policies, countries can have them too.

America has the most famous diversity policy of all: it's called the American Dream.

It means a lot to me personally, as my father is African American, and my uncle was the first black man to run for President.

The problem is the gap between the dream and the reality.

So before my uncle ran for President, he started off with a more manageable ambition: he decided to integrate Mississipi University.

The authorities of the time (the late 50s) said that any black man who wanted to go to Mississipi university must be mentally insane, and they sectioned him, and locked him in a mental asylum for 2 years.

So here's my point, the gap between the dream and the reality is what a diversity strategy sets out to fill.

That's why it's so important to be a diversity champion. That's why I ask you all to redouble your efforts. To make sure you are all TLA advocates

Because to champion diversity in the tech sector, is to be on the side of the Angels. And also to stay the right side of a profit margin.

It’s to say that if you work hard and you have great talent, you will have the same chance as anyone else to succeed.

It guarantees no more than that, but that in itself is a golden guarantee.

I hope the work I've done in the broadcasting sector can serve as an example of what businesses can do when they come together around diversity.

What we've done is make the British broadcasting industry the first in the world where competing commercial broadcasters have devised a common diversity standard, and begun a systematic and ongoing benchmarking exercise to both measure and incentivise progress.

Isn’t it just box-ticking?

No, it is fundamentally about widening the talent pool, finding untold stories, and increasing diversity of thought & diversity of production formats.

And it's already driving behaviour change.

For me, my personal mantra is:

Data + leadership + resources = change

The 3 A's DIVERSITY

1. Accountable   2. Affordable  3. Accessible 

Accountable: is the industry accountable? What about your company? What about your board? What about your team?  

TRACK diversity, set a target for increasing diversity, and reach it.  Remember diversity is about all of us

AFFORDABLE: make sure you can afford diversity.  Sometimes it costs nothing, it's about an open mind.  But often it costs money or resource: setting aside time to find more talented diverse people when your next vacancy comes up.  - Steve McQueen

ACCESIBLE:
Who's in the room?

Who gets into the room where the decisions are made?

This really dawned on me when I worked in the Prime Minister's Policy Unit.

- Holding the pen...
- You have no idea how much shit I'm dealing with
- Different people at different times have different amounts of shit to deal with: if someone in your team has talent, help them stay in the game...

So I want to end on the point about awareness.

One Friday night, A while ago, I was watching TV, and I suddenly became aware of something:

David Mitchell had various guests on his TV programme, including David Harewood, the black actor of Homeland fame.  And then in the Last Leg it was Adam Hill with guests including one of my favourites, Eddie Izzard.  Two TV shows, featuring disabled people, an ethnic minority, a transvestite comedian, (a lesbian trapped in a man's body)  in total 10 on-screen protagonists, but not ONE woman!

I mean isn't it incredible that over 50% of the population are women, yet we routinely have whole evenings on TV where it's virtually a woman-free zone.

So talking of talking to myself, but I remember the first Friday night this happened to me... I was watching QI on the BBC, 8 out of 10 Cats on C4, and a couple of other programmes on other channels, and I suddenly realised that over 3 hours viewing on a Friday night I hadn't seen a single woman...

Who is responsible?!  It must be someone's job to do sth about this.  I must write to them...

WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE

Key Calls To Action
· Each of you have a responsibility being here today to advocate gender equality here today. Take your mobiles out and tweet 'I'm an Advocate for women in tech. Join me #SheCanDoTech @tlawomenintech'
· Go and find out your business, function, team statistics - be able to quote them and talk about them regularly - awareness is the foundation!

Challenge your own team around the same statistics - don’t let it become just an unspoken number.
· Go to tlawomenintech.org and COMMIT to one of the key actions

THE LAST POINT ON AWARENESS: LET'S BE AWARE OF OUR POWER

AND LETS SINCERELY THANK SARAH & NIKKI FOR GETTING THIS MOVEMENT STARTED!