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Athena goddess of war summoned by Queen Mary University to help women solve global plastics crisis

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:06 18 March 2019

Campaign for more women to go into techonogy industry. Picture: QMUL

Campaign for more women to go into techonogy industry. Picture: QMUL

QMUL

A 'goddess of war' event which hopes to solve the global plastics crisis is being staged at Queen Mary University to encourage women into the technology industry.

Queen Mary University to stage Athena technology weekend for women techies. Picture: QMULQueen Mary University to stage Athena technology weekend for women techies. Picture: QMUL

The university wants to narrow the digital gap and draw more women to the tech industry by staging the two-day ‘Athena 2019’ weekend on April 13 and 14, named for the ancient fierce Greek warrior goddess, daughter of Zeus.

The inspiration from mythology aims to help the tech sector in the 21st century which is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy, much of it in east London.

Government research suggests 500,000 computer scientists will be needed by 2022 to meet the demand and to keep Britain at the head of the game.

But there are just a handful of women programmers and software developers, making up less than four per cent of tech and telecommunications professionals.

So students, academics and tech industry leaders are taking part in Athena’s technology weekend, with beginner-friendly “software bootcamp” coding workshops for novices and a careers fair for the tech industry.

More experienced coders will use their skills to create a platform for solutions to the worldwide plastic crisis. A Hackathon is being staged in partnership with ShowCode competitive coding platform.

“This will bring together technologists to help support the plastics global issue,” ShowCode’s co-founder Will Knight said. “Our charity partner is Plastic Oceans UK, so the women have a chance to come up with concepts to help solve the crisis plaguing our world.”

Talks are also being given by women in the tech sector such as Tech Pixies founder Joy Foster, FT Women’s chair Angelique Vu and Canary Wharf’s JP Morgan financial services director Lynsey Campbell.

‘Athena 2019’ is on April 13 and 14 at Queen Mary’s campus in Mile End, backed by JP Morgan, Plastic Oceans UK and the Institute of Coding.

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