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Posts by Yun Chen

Why aren’t there more women in tech? 

27 May 2021
Dr. Yun Chen, Founder of Women in Tech (WiT)

Dr. Yun Chen

Marie Griffiths

Dr. Marie Griffiths

A number of recent studies tell a pretty dismal story of gender imbalance in the tech sector. For some hard figures, a recent survey of 1500 women working in tech, conducted by Women in Tech, found that only 1 in 6 tech specialists are women, and sadly only 1 in 10 women are IT leaders. Accenture and Girls who Code, found that 50% of women leave the tech sector at a rate of 45% higher than men, with 50% leaving their tech career by the age of 35 years.

In the UK, 19% of women are employed in tech jobs, despite women making up 49% of the overall workforce in the country, Tech Nation data shows. ‘Lack of tech diversity’ has been a raised issue, putting into the agenda of career market. 

Long wait: An image of the Worldwide Developers Conference shows a queue outside the men’s restrooms but none outside the women’s. ‘WWDC explained in one photo,’ 

Based on our observations and experience over a decade in Higher Education working as programme leaders of BSc/MSc in Digital Business, female students are much less than male students at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught/Research levels and there has been no increases over time. The situation is even more obvious in technology-related degrees in e.g. School of Science, Engineering and Environment (SEE), with a couple of female students in one class. For years women have been underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) university courses and occupations”, as discovered by Women in STEM statistics

What has stopped women from stepping into the technology field? 

After a series of informal interviews with female colleagues, students and friends around, we found these reasons:

Lack of confidence 

You have probably heard of ‘imposter syndrome’, if you haven’t – it is when you think that your successes or your current role you have recently gained hasn’t been achieved by merit and that you may not deserve it. It is more common that you think research indicates it happens much more in women than in men. Sadly imposter Syndrome is often accompanied by anxiety and depression, in a recent survey from Paychex, 67% of women felt undervalued.  Our message is YOU are good enough!

Unclear about the concept of ‘Technology’

Yes, technology is important to almost all of the organisations nowadays. But what exactly does ‘technology’ mean? It does not only refer to hardware development or computer programming. Issues around technology application, management and support are also essential. Technology is a multidimensional concept and needs multiple skills. Actually, sometimes women are more suitable for certain technology jobs than men, especially for human-centred technology.

Lack of role models 

The number of disappearing women leaving the tech at key career stages (35 years) is not a new phenomenon, a Salford study conducted 15 years ago, tells us that not much has changed over that time.  This has many repercussions for early career stage women in the sector. When looking around their workplace it is difficult to find a role model, or a mentor for support. The lack of women in senior roles demonstrates problematic career trajectories and female unfriendly workplaces. 

Inflexible working conditions 

Can a work life balance be truly achieved now that working from home or hybrid working is becoming the norm as we come out of lockdown? The reality is, that true flexible and part-time working conditions are not common in the tech sector, and what is described as the ‘motherhood penalty’ is massively disadvantaging women in their career aspirations and their earnings. Staggeringly, a recent World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, found that the global gender gap in various industries, as well as tech, is not expected to close until 2120. Yes that is 2120 (it is not a typo)

How can our ‘Women in Tech’ (WiT) sub cluster address these challenges?

Women in Tech (WiT) is the sub-cluster of Research Cluster for Disruptive Technology at Salford Business School. Working with staff across the University, industrial partners, communities in the similar field, the sub cluster aims to address challenges discussed above. The priorities of WiT are:

  • To raise awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusiveness. We need to address the imbalance of female students, researchers and practitioners involved in technology fields.  
  • To serve as a communication, experience sharing platform and networking for women who have passion in technology. 
  • To build confidence and enhance employability skills for women to work in the technology field.
  • To contribute to the five ‘P’s of Research Cluster for Disruptive Technology (i.e. Pounds, Publications, Projects, PhDs and Presence)

Women in Tech

Since its establishment in March 2021, WiT has held its initial meeting with staff of Salford Business School (SBS) and School of Science, Engineering and Environment (SEE) to brainstorm a strategic roadmap to take the sub-cluster forward. Some exciting ideas were proposed in the meeting, such as holding regular lunchtime digital roundtables to involve women in the discussion of disruptive technologies; continuous blogging and research on projects undertaken by women in the technology field to inspire other females.  

Strategic roadmap of Disruptive Technologies Cluster where WiT is sitting

WiT has received overwhelming support from the University and industrial partners, such as Athena SWAN, the STEMinists of Salford, Our Launch incubator, Maker Space and female managers in the tech industry. A communication strategy to bring together the efforts people have brought to Women in Tech field is essential to push this sub-cluster forward in the most efficient way.  

What can WiT sub-cluster bring you?

  • Involvement of live projects, working with people in other fields. We have successful projects to involve our female undergraduate in the REF project, such as Arts for Blue with School of Health and Society, to help with online presence development of the project. 
  • Talking to industrial practitioners and role models. WiT has a wide network and supporters with the tech industry.
  • Attending WiT webinar and workshops (e.g. our recent disruptive tech event on blockchain and NFTs with two inspirational female entrepreneurs) (see below).

So – how do I get involved?

If you are a student, staff or industry collaborator interested in the new WiT sub-cluster in any way, please contact Dr Yun Chen and Dr Marie Griffiths.

How do our digital business students work with industry?

1 May 2018
Dr Yun Chen talks about how your digital business can work with the University of Salford

Dr Yun Chen talks about how your digital business can work with the University of Salford

Have you heard about digital business transformation? Here at Salford we have and we want to be part of the process that helps transform your digital businesses. Do you want to know how our students work with internal and external partners?

I am Dr Yun Chen and I run two modules working closely with industry bringing our undergraduate students within the digital business transformation process. My Mobile App Development module is a great example. This year our students developed real applications and more importantly, they worked with our established industry partners Apadmi and Sigma too benchmarking their skills against industry standards.

Could your business benefit from a number of fresh pairs of eyes looking at your app development project needs? Like you, I know that mobile devices are one of the most popular channels that help people engage people with digital businesses activities. This means it is really essential now to make sure that students understand not just the mobile technologies and theories of design but also its implementation in the real world. Let me tell you more about how Salford Business School does this.


How 3D printing works #PUPRU

13 June 2016
How 3D printing works

How 3D printing works

How does 3D printing work? Have you heard abut 3D printing technologies? There are lots of things you could print. We have already been printed a few things already, like a duck, a Salford ambition sign and a butterfly clip!

Recent improvements and falling prices of 3D printers meant that the technology is more accessible to everyone. . 3D printing works by a layer-by-layer creation of physical objects based on digital files that of their design. Nowadays, 3D printing technologies have become an affordable and viable tool for business and consumers. So, how can 3D printing transform online retailing?

Retailers can sell blueprint design plans that consumers can purchase on the web and print at home or at 3D print shops. 3d printing has become very popular and industry in its own right since the world’s first 3D print shop opened in Zurich in 2012.  Since then more pops up opened in Munich and Vienna in 2014. These shops have begun to offer bespoke final prints and designs can be adapted to improve and modify functionality. Also, electronically transmitting digital design printing have no tax costs. Nike has marketing its first athletic shoe with 3D-printed components to download and templates for shoes that can be printed out overnight. Besides industry and business, 3D scanning and printing can be used for educational purposes in schools and universities. Teachers and students can creatively combine engineering, maths, design process and history. 3D printing is also starting to revolutionise manufacturing in a wide range of industries.


What is a Raspberry Pi? #PUPRU

31 May 2016
What is a Raspberry Pi? #PUPRU

What is a Raspberry Pi? #PUPRU

A number of technology innovations have been recently enabled through Raspberry Pi. What is Raspberry Pi?

In a nutshell, it is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that you can plug into a computer monitor or TV, and use standard keyboard and mouse to work with it.

These Raspberry Pi devices are enabling people of all ages to explore computing, and learn programming in languages like Scratch and Python. They can do many things that you can do with a traditional computer, such as browsing the internet, play high-definition video, make spreadsheets, word-processing, and play games. Originally, they were designed to be used in education for creative teaching and learning.


What is #PUPRU?

21 November 2015
#PUPRU // Salford Business School Popup Research Unit


The Pop-up Research Unit (PUPRU) is a bespoke robust mobile display space intended for regular ad-hoc installation. It can pop-up in a range of public spaces including the high street, inside shopping malls, in the foyer of business premises, and at education institutions (primary schools, high schools, universities etc.)

The digital revolution has significantly impacted business. The Unit provides Salford Business School and particularly members of the Centre for Digital Business with a creative platform to support research projects. Some of the research areas could be 4G Retailing, Digital Marketing and Digital High Street, with a focus on business exploitation, implementation and integration of a range of digital technologies, tools and methods.