Seen the job? Get IT!" That's the message for thousands of girls around the UK on one of two new posters that will be sent to all secondary schools in the autumn. The poster designed ironically by a boy, 17-year-old Douglas Larkin was one of two winners in the National Council for Educational Technology's Girls into IT competition.
Girls into IT is a three-year campaign run by the NCET, which is trying to reverse the decline in girls going into IT-related careers only one in five now go on to computer sciences in higher education.
It is a matter for "crisis management" and one which will affect our success as a nation in the world economy, said Mary Baker, president of Women into Management and a director of Barclay's Bank, when she presented the awards on Monday at the Savoy Hotel in London. "We need to stop the slide back into flower arranging and counting on your fingers."
The next move, she said, should be poster campaigns aimed at teachers and lecturers "we need more women teaching IT" and at the software designers who make macho games that put girls off. She wanted to re-write the computer science label, get away from the boring grey boxes that are computers and "colour them cheerful".
The competition, sponsored by Barclays Bank, Hewlett Packard, Admiral plc and The TES, attracted over 800 entries. Winners received a palmtop PC for themselves, a multimedia PC for their schools and a two-day training course for their teacher.