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She’s In CTRL

Transworld (8 Sep 2022)

Why are women so under-represented in the tech world?
Why does this matter?
What can we do about it?

She’s in CTRL asks these essential questions and more, providing long-overdue practical solutions to lead to actual change.

Recently our eyes have been opened to the dangerous fact that our technology is built by a series of big decisions made by a small number of people, mainly men. It means our technology is derived from the gender, nationality and beliefs of a section of society whose lived experience may not chime with our own. The tech world might feel beyond reach with so many barriers and challenges, particularly if you’re a woman.

These barriers sometimes feel insurmountable but in She’s In CTRL, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, a dynamic advocate for women in STEM, insists that technology is not an unchangeable and unquestionable force. It is not the preserve of the elite or something that only “men can do”. It is in our homes, in our hands and all around us. Rather than feeling powerless to make changes to the way tech works and fails, she argues that it’s time to get into the room where the decisions are made. Or, better still, create our own tech rooms.

Without these rooms we find ourselves with problems that shouldn’t need to be fixed in this day and age. For example the book highlights an example of a big health tech company that only developed a period feature in 2019, a feature that only tracks ten days of your period, which is essentially useless. It is not innovative because of the limitations of those who created it not reflecting those who will use it.

Why did Anne-Marie write this book? In her own words: Whether it’s the future of work, whether it’s diversity, history – people are saying, ‘Wow, I didn’t know any of that.’ I was getting frustrated that so many of the problems that we’re trying to deal with in this space come from the fact that a lot of folks don’t have an appreciation. These conversations aren’t part of our social norms. So, I wanted to boil all that down into a book because I can enable people to engage with this, understand it, make practical changes in the Getting Started sections. If I can share what I know with others, that might have an impact not just on those folks attending events, but parents, would-be volunteers . . . That was the impetus behind the book.

Anne-Marie draws on learnings from her own career, those of the people she looks up to including formidable voices such as Sharmadean Reid and Alice Bentinck and shares her vision for a world where more women have technical and digital literacy. In line with her book of the same name, she shares ways to communicate, investigate, broker deals, problem-solve and protect yourself in a digital world. Finishing up with actionable next steps on how to make tech work for you and your career. The book consists of thirteen chapters each with a “getting started” segment to talk the reader through what they can do to take steps on their technical journey beyond the pages of the book.

This powerful book about women, tech and daring to dream takes inspiration from Dr Imafidon’s own experience and from the stories of other pioneers and innovators who have, against the odds, transformed technology. She’s In CTRL is an inspirational narrative about how women must play a part in ensuring a future that’s evenly distributed.

An excerpt from chapter 5 -  A Woman’s work

Ultimately, imagination is about new and unreal things; technology is about making the unreal real. Taking control of technology doesn’t always mean creating the new from scratch – it can also mean adding something new to what already exists. Ideas can be planted in the imagination from all kinds of sources, but your experiences are a key component of what you imagine – your upbringing, your formative experiences and your day-to-day reality combine with your values and priorities. The existing social constructs around being a woman also feed into what goes on in your imagination. The same is true of any gender.

It’s also important to consider the effect science fiction has on the imagination. So many of the folks that are super excited to be technologists credit sci-fi, games, and films and TV shows they enjoyed during their formative years with influencing how they see the world and what they think should happen in it next.

Do you remember Knight Rider, the 1980s TV series? Michael Knight would fight crime with his car, KITT. He talked to his vehicle, it would understand what he was saying, and some- times it would talk back. It’s quite funny to think the premise was so futuristic, so novel and exciting back then, but these days we talk to inanimate objects all the time. We talk to our phones, and they answer us. We ask a robot to turn off the lights, or tell us the weather forecast. Science fiction becoming science reality is something we’ve seen time and time again.


'A powerful and inspiring call to action from one of Britain's brightest minds'
Yomi Adegoke, award-winning journalist, co-author of Slay in Your Lane and Sunday Times Bestselling novel, The List

‘I absolutely loved this book! Engrossing and relatable'
Charlene Hunter MBE, CEO & Founder, Coding Black Females.

'A practical and positive guide to using tech to change women's lives for the better'

Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men

The book has been featured on Bloomberg, Reader’s Digest, Business Leader Magazine, Mail on Sunday and The New Statesman.