Why Greater Manchester is putting Cybergirls First

By Amanda Newman, Senior Manager, Accenture. October 2022

Amanda Newman

My name is Amanda Newman and I’m a senior manager at Accenture. My day job is to help deliver projects for our clients. However, I’m privileged to be able to work on additional activities that can positively impact growth of our talent pipeline in Manchester.

I’m a passionate advocate of getting more girls in to STEM (as you will see from a previous blog) and this was a perfect opportunity to get involved with my colleagues.

Cybergirls First was setup by an inspiring lady called Pat, now 84, she has made it her life mission to drive equality and inspire more girls to continue learning. Pat setup Cybergirls after seeing a gap - girls curious about this as a career option but not being able to progress, or knowing how to. Pat recognised that in mixed rooms, the boys were often more vocal and interacting, with the girls often taking a back seat, Pat created a case for Cybergirls First. Pat has now delivered many in real life and virtual events around the country and has had a huge impact on the number of girls studying computer science.

Working with a number of partners, Cybergirls First is exciting, inspiring and engaging girls from inner city schools, in years 8 and 9, into cyber careers.

On Oct 19th we will deliver the first Greater Manchester based event for quite some time, 50 girls will be welcomed to our Accenture offices, and hear presentations from GCHQ, Microsoft, JPMorgan, Colt and Launch Your Career. I’m excited to follow the onward journey of the girls that attend to see how we might make a difference to their future choices.

I didn’t want this blog to just be my perspective though, as I was writing I found myself wondering what the team delivering this event thought, why they feel events of this kind are important and their opinion of power in collaboration, so I asked a few of the team just that!

"I’ve been involved with Cybergirls First for around five years and have supported several events, in that time this is the first one that we’ve done in Greater Manchester. Personally, I come from a very modest background, I was the only girl in communications technology class at school, and I’ll never forget being told by a careers teacher that I shouldn’t aim too high, as they invited the local factories in to speak to us! I believe in paying t forward and I’m passionate about social mobility and the need to get more women into tech roles, so Cybergirls ticks all the boxes for me.

We target girls from low socio-economic backgrounds and show them the opportunities that are available, we teach them that they can reach for the sky, if they want to! Cybergirls is successful because of the drive and passion that Pat brings, along with her ability to mobilise an army of volunteers- together we are able to show the girls that there are many paths open to them and that if we can do it so can they. Thanks to Pat and Accenture for running this event to Manchester – I couldn’t be more delighted!”

Marie Hamilton, Strategic Client Director, Greater Manchester Regional Lead, Microsoft

I also spoke to Mrudula Buthpur Security Consulting Manager, Accenture Security UKI - our Cyber practise in the UK. With the event in mind, I asked how Mrudula came to work in Cyber? What would success look like for this event?

“I’ve come from a conservative background, where women had always been home and had zero to a very limited exposure to the outside world. I was inspired looking at my grandad, brothers’, all and only men who were doing amazing tech jobs back then, I always dreamt of doing one and am proud that I did - for the last seventeen years I have been working in the Cybersecurity world, specialized in Identity and Access Management space while securing identity landscape for wide range of organisations.

Cybergirls First setup by Pat Ryan is a fantastic opportunity to address the gender equality in all phases of a girl’s life and instil confidence that next gen girls are encouraged and entitled to choose careers in computer science & technology. Demonstrating great women leadership stories to build assurance that girls can be successful in careers with grace, on Oct 19th we organize one of the first event at Accenture office. The event is co-executed by diverse organizations to showcase our first few wonderful girls that there are many opportunities to choose for their careers.

I must admit - I wish I had Pat and Cybergirls first during my school days that would have made my journey shinier, bolder & brighter.”

Mrudula Buthpur Security Consulting Manager, Accenture Security UKI

We really hope this is the first of many events of this kind, if you are a school and interested in signing up to the future schedule, or an organisation able to host a future event please contact Pat Ryan -Pat.Ryan@cybergirlsfirst.com

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