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Women in Edtech: International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, we aspire to do our bit here at Firefly Learning. 36% of the company are women, all feisty, enthusiastic towards education as well as technology. It’s important we champion the great work women in the industry do, and we sat down with a few of our female employees to discuss their careers to date.

For International Women’s Day, we aspire to do our bit here at Firefly Learning. We know the education sector and teaching workforce has always been heavily female orientated. In the past few years, technology and digital platforms like Firefly have become more and more prominent in a teachers day-to-day job. Recent research says since then, education has become more male orientated through the adoption of EdTech and the female voice in education was limited, despite women making up over 80 per cent of all staff in schools.

Thankfully, #WomenEd, a grassroots movement which connects existing and aspiring leaders in education and their recently released 10% Braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education provided a new positive voice for women in education and offers digital leadership support.

Here at Firefly Learning, 36% of the company are women, all feisty, enthusiastic towards education as well as technology, with a hint of sass. Given that, this percentage makes it all the more important that we champion the great work women within the industry do and encourage as many as possible to join us in Firefly Learning.

To reflect, we sat down with a few of our female employees, to discuss their careers to date.

What were your original career aspirations and how has this changed?

I always knew I wanted to do something creative and was really excited to learn as part of my uni studies that I could use design in a meaningful way to help solve problems for people. I started out doing pure visual design–making UI clear and easy to use. Over time the role has evolved and I have become much closer to the people who use the product, understanding their needs and constructing experiences that help them to the do things that are important to them.

What advice would you give to women wanting to either join EdTech/Firefly or progress within in?

It’s a really exciting industry with a lot of potential to help people. At Firefly Learning you are able to help teachers in their passion for teaching, help students to learn in the way that works for them, and help parents to remain engaged with their child’s progress as their children grow up and gain more independence in their learning.

Rachel Anderson (Senior Product Designer)

What were your original career aspirations and how has this changed?

I wanted to be a detective (love any kind of crime book or film) and then a fashion designer when I was young. Regret not pursuing either of those dreams! But I was always good at writing and putting a positive spin on things, so marketing seemed a natural fit.

Is there anyone who has inspired you or acted as a role model during your career and how did this relationship influence you?

No one particular person - and I've never really had a 'mentor', sadly. But I have worked in some highly charged environments, and always really admired those women who could keep things together and remain cool under pressure. I used to get quite panicky when I first started working - probably still do at times - but watching and learning from other people who could take a step back really helped.

What advice would you give to women wanting to either join EdTech/Firefly or progress within in?

Definitely do it! Tech in general and edtech in particular are huge growth areas. (Massive generalisation) but I think women have better communication skills than men. If you combine that ability to explain techie jargon in ways other people can understand then you have it made.

Lee McElhinney (Marketing Manager)

What were your original career aspirations and how has this changed?

Well when I was much younger I wanted to be a TV presenter! - now I couldn't think of anything worse! - I did a work experience placement at Sony Entertainment in HR when I was 16, and I just enjoyed it from there on! I studied Psychology at Uni and thought I would perhaps enjoy a career in that, but then after uni, I wanted to go back and explore HR. I have worked in People/HR ever since.

Is there anyone who has inspired you or acted as a role model during your career and how did this relationship influence you?

My mum has inspired me, her studying later on in life to achieve the step in her career. Its challenging balancing work with studying - so the fact she could do it, inspired me.

What advice would you give to women wanting to either join EdTech/Firefly or progress within in?

The thing I like most about Firefly is the people, everyone is so friendly and approachable, so I would definitely recommend Firefly as a place to work.

Sophie Matthews (People Co-Ordinator)

What were your original career aspirations and how has this changed?

I grew up wanting to be a vet. I was very concerned by the impact of human activities on the environment and our societies and developed an interest in nature and sustainable development. In school, to help students familiarise themselves with the professional world, we students were offered to do a 3-day internship in a field of our choice. I chose a veterinary practice but quickly realised this wasn't for me. Despite this, I still wanted a career with a positive impact, so I travelled around the world to explore and little by little, I got myself in the education sector which seemed to be just right for me and what I wanted to pursue.

Is there anyone who has inspired you or acted as a role model during your career and how did this relationship influence you?

I was particularly close to my older cousin and admired the person she had become by taking every opportunity to travel, get involved in social and cultural activities, learn new skills, etc. Looking at my own path, I think she definitely acted as a role model for me.

What advice would you give to women wanting to either join EdTech/Firefly or progress within in?

As a general advice I think it's always good to be curious and try to understand how things work, the reasons behind every situations, etc. Multiple experiences help you put things in perspective and think creatively. EdTech is a relatively new sector and, as most sectors now, it is constantly evolving so it's important to be flexible and able to adapt quickly.

Celine Guillaumet (Customer Success Manager)

Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women
Maya Angelou

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