One of Wales’ rising technology experts is celebrating International Women’s Day by encouraging more women into technology roles.
Karen Boparoy, a successful businesswoman and director of technology company Locality Solutions, wants to see more female STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) role models engaging with young people and encouraging them to seize the opportunities that a career in STEM holds.
Boparoy, who is originally from Malaysia, gained two degrees in commerce and technology from the University of Auckland before spending the next 10 years working for global companies, including Fortune 500s, in New Zealand, Australia and America. She is now product director for Cardiff-based specialists Locality, providing innovative case management software to tackle anti-social behaviour, hate crime and domestic abuse.
Recent research from the Institute of Engineering and Technology shows that 50% of parents believe that engineering is a ‘boy’s’ profession. Only 45% of parents with a daughter said they would consider engineering as a suitable career for her, yet this figure increased to 67% when it was demonstrated to them how diverse and creative the profession could be.
Boparoy wants to see more young technology professionals engaging with schools and young people directly and talking about the breadth of opportunities on offer – from creating apps to working on huge space projects.
“We are soon to launch initiatives in schools, which is something we are incredibly excited by,” she said. “The schools we have engaged with so far have been extremely supportive and understand the importance of our agenda; to display how creative and exciting the world of technology can be and how a career in STEM is accessible to everyone.”
The UK needs an extra 1.82m engineers in the next decade, leading to excellent career prospects for engineering graduates and some of the highest starting salaries offered.
“For decades to come there are going to be creative & wonderful jobs within this diverse sector,” says Boparoy. “There is this incredible opportunity within technology to be out there making a real difference to the way we live and work and to the planet.”