WHO IS DIDFEST FOR?

We understand that for some people, when you see an event called “Women in Tech”, it can probably feel like you need to be a ‘woman’, or be in a some kind of super-technical role, in order to get any benefit from attending, but…

DIDFest is different! Yes, this year our focus is on closing the Gender gap in Digital, but to do that over the next decade or so, we know that we need to involve and include everyone. From developers and engineers, right the way through to people who don’t even know what a smartphone is (if, they still exist that is…).

Our point is, some of these events aren’t even about tech at all. Some, particularly in our COMMUNITY theme, are purely about helping women develop soft and human skills - such as, “how to deal with imposter syndrome” or “how to be more confident at networking”. Just so we’re really explicit- the purpose of these events is to equip women with these skills, and as such, the content in some of the events will be tailored towards them. However, men are welcome to all sessions and are encouraged to get involved in learning and contributing. Business leaders, (woman and men) from all industries and backgrounds, can also access sessions to help them create more inclusive cultures overall, not just for their tech teams.

You may not be in an explicitly technical role or be learning about tech today but digital is everywhere, we all make use of it all of the time. There is something for everyone at DIDFest.

Don’t believe us? If you aren’t sure where to start, do get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll be happy to chat with you to find out more about you, and point you in the right direction of what events you might enjoy :)

*by women we mean all women (trans, intersex and cis), all those who experience oppression as women (including non-binary and gender non-conforming people) and all those who identify as women.


THE VISION

The lack of diversity in the digital sector is an ongoing challenge. Birmingham is forecasted to become the UK’s second plural city by 2024, and as one of the most diverse cities in the U.K we want to help ensure that the population is properly represented throughout the tech industry. Through a month long, city-wide ‘Diversity in Digital Festival’, we aim to celebrate, challenge, inspire and take action on making a difference for years to come!

Each year we will focus on a different strand of the Diversity spectrum including Gender, BAME, LGBTQ, Disability, Age, Cognitive Thinking, each of which require different approaches. The festival will be made up of a number of unique and independent events, workshops, conferences and projects that ultimately help to raise awareness - bringing together people, schools and businesses to focus on what they can do to take action and make a difference.


THIS YEAR IS GENDER

Did you know that just 17% of those working in Technology in the UK are female? That only 7% of students taking computer science A-Level courses are female? And only one in six tech specialists in the UK are women? What’s more female representation in the Tech sector has stalled over the past 10 years!


SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT...?

The first festival celebrates all things Women in Tech, including how to engage, attract, retain and develop more women in the industry. We will encourage, empower and inspire more girls and women to get into STEM, and to thrive in STEM careers.

We’re not just looking to educate Organisational Leaders on the benefits of ‘having an inclusive workforce’ (although that will be part of it!). Instead, we want to engage:

The month-long festival will be broken down into four themes including; PLAY, INSPIRE, COMMUNITY and LEADERSHIP. Each theme will focus on different groups of people and will have clear ways for attendees to get more involved and take next steps in developing their understanding of how to join local communities.


HOW WILL IT WORK?

The passionate DIDFest Team will be collaborating and coordinating with lots of different people, event organisers and speakers, to help produce a clear plan and breakdown of the month’s events. Each separate event will be run in its own unique way. There are already so many great events and workshops that happen, we don’t need to change them. We’ll only make sure we include them in the agenda and if the event hosts would like, we’ll provide suggestions for themes and connect them with potential speakers or willing venue providers. If someone, or a company, would like to start an event that maybe they have never run before, then we can support those people too with a little more guidance. The events could be anything from an internal team meeting to talk about one of the topics, to a small group of people meeting up over coffee, to an entire conference (if you have the time and budget!).


WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?

We’re not just here to run and support events. We’re looking for impact that’s going to drive real change for years to come. Rather than looking at ‘end game results’ (i.e. the number of women in tech by x date) we’re going to focus on connections people make, the next steps people follow-through with and how useful they are. These may include the number of students that take sign up or progress with STEM subjects / careers, or the number of women that sign up to the community… maybe even the number of organisations that decide to invest in their own initiatives around Inclusion, Mental Health and Diversity.

These are just a few.

We’re here to help grow a community that will help foster new and positive relationships, whilst inspiring people to take action on what they can do to make a difference.

We want this Festival to be a real celebration of all the amazing people we already have in Birmingham, and to start to create a place of belonging for all the girls and women we have in STEM careers here.