A recent “Women in Technology” study carried out for PwC concluded that females are not considering careers in technology because they do not have enough information about working in the sector and it is rarely proposed as an option for them.
A lack of female role models reinforces the perception that a technology career is not for them. Only 22% of students questioned could name a famous female working in technology. Two thirds named a famous man working in technology.
Having been inspired by several women over the years I think it is time to change that statistic. Here are five women who have made their mark in the world of technology, try to think of some yourself!
We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.
1 – Martha Lane Fox – lastminute.com
Martha is best known in technology as the co-founder of lastminute.com but has an impressive portfolio including a passionate commitment to charity work and developing computer literacy in those who find it difficult. Since 2013 she has also been in the House of Lords as a cross-bench peer. Well aware of the gender gap she actively campaigns to see more woman take their seat on boards. Her diversity is a good lesson for all women, while you are focusing on technology get your name known in other areas, be passionate in all you do, and never stop pushing.
2 – Sarah Drinkwater – Google Campus London
Sarah has the top spot on the campus and has been well placed to actively push to make the role of women in technology stronger. Launching Campus for Mums, which is a project she feels passionately about has seen a baby friendly startup school relieve a huge burden for many women in her community. Her lesson to us all is to keep learning – stay curious as she puts it, and never be afraid to have a voice, even if that seems terrifying. Women need to be brave, challenge the stereotypes and ask for what they want.
3 – Dr Sue Black – Savvify
With a massively intimidating list of accomplishments under her belt, Sue is the founder of Savvify and a leading campaigner for equality and support for women working in technology. Her advice to all women is to make some noise. Self-promotion is vital, so you need to spend time talking to people, sharing yourself and your skill set. Find out what is required to move up and work to that goal.
4 – Nikki Cochrane – Digital Mums
Digital Mums is a project seeking to return mums to work by helping them work in social media. The company was founded by two strong women, Nikki’s business partner is Kathryn Tyler. Her advice to women looking to move up in technology is to form strong working partnerships with other women who have the same passion and vision. Using skills to complement each other will help you both rise higher.
5 – Robyn Exton – HER
Founding the dating app HER for gay women to meet friends and partners, Robyn is well aware of the challenges faced by women in technology but found the perfect way to bring about positive change for lesbian dating. Her words of the wise for all women in the field is to face your fears. Situations that make you feel uncomfortable are the ones you need to stand and face not run from. She encourages people to ask for advice, reinventing the wheel is never required, use other people’s experiences and move on up.
In looking at these 5 women one major thing strikes me – they are all different! They have different backgrounds, different stories and different motivations. Choosing a career in technology is not about confirming to stereotypes, it is about being yourself. Girls and women owe it to the technology sector to move in – it is suffering without them!