“Only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women” PwC.co.uk, Women in Tech Report
We’ve always believed that diversity and inclusion are essential in any company. We all have a collective responsibility to ensure we represent every demographic and their achievements, especially within the technology sector. We want to celebrate all successes in technology and tell the stories of how they are shaping our world today.
A report by PwC found only 27% of female respondents say they would consider a career in technology, compared to the 62% of males. There are women in this industry making such an impact and influencing other women interested in technology that these statistics could be a distant memory very soon.
The report also found that only “Only 22% of people can name a famous female working in technology”, with that in mind we have handpicked four inspirational women in the technology world that more people should be aware of, and will hopefully inspire other women into the field.
1. Kathryn Parsons, Founder of Decoded
“Say the word code and it immediately conjures images of boys in hoodies in basements listening to loud music and shooting nerf guns. But the future is being written in lines of code. I passionately believe that. And I want women to be part of that future.” Parsons, 2016, theguardian.com
Kathryn Parsons is not only passionate about getting more people into the world of code, data and tech, but she is also a genuine advocate for women in technology.
Parsons is the Founder of Decoded a London-based startup, which aims to increase digital literacy (which was set up 2011). Their work spanning Code, Data, AI, Cyber Security and Digital Leadership has reached the boards and leadership teams of businesses worldwide.
As well as the work Kathryn has done with Decoded, she received an MBE for services to Education in the Queens Honors for her work contributing to the campaign for code as a mandatory on the UK National Curriculum, which was successfully introduced in 2014.
Kathryn had the passion and idea to equip the next generation with the technical skills and continue to champion women within the technology sector. She stated “we need to banish the myths, cliches and stereotypes that have evolved which say ‘this is not for girls’. It is. Why can’t the next billion-dollar tech company be led by a woman?”
Ensuring that there is visibility, opportunity, education and mentorship for women in tech, is another goal on Kathryn’s list and she believes there is lots more work still to be done.
2. Pheobe Hugh, Co-Founder and CEO of Brolly
“Having made the decision to start an insurance technology company, one thing was abundantly clear: I didn’t know enough about technology. Sure I hacked away with HTML creating my Myspace when I was 15 and read technology news, but I was determined to understand what was beneath the bonnet and what was possible.” Hughs, 2016, InsuranceTimes.co.uk
Phoebe Hugh began her career in the insurance industry, however, later decided to set up her own insurtech startup ‘Brolly’ in 2016. She decided to take her broad knowledge of the industry and put her drive into her own AI-Driven insurance app that provides personalised advice to help people save time and money.
This change in direction to start her own business came from her theory that customers want more from insurance and that technology could provide this. After she left her previous insurance company Aviva, Phoebe studied Programming at Makers Academy to allow her to thrive in the technology field, and bring this new understanding to start Brolly.
Phoebe firmly believes that you can use Augmented Reality to consolidate and automate personal insurance, using AI to bring clarity to insurance.
Her work in the insurance tech field and creating her company from the ground up lead to her being featured on Business Insider’s UK Fintech 35 under 35 list. Only 10 women made the cut, and these are the women on the front line of females in tech.
3. Grace Hopper, Pioneer of computer programming
“There sat that beautiful big machine whose sole job was to copy things and do addition. Why not make the computer do it? That’s why I sat down and wrote the first compiler. It was very stupid. What I did was watch myself put together a program and make the computer do what I did.” Hopper, thoughtco.com
Ever heard of the term ‘bug’ to describe a computer malfunction? Well, that would be down to Grace Hopper who helped popularise it.
When talking about Grace, many people would say that she invented coding itself as she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers. Following joining the US Navy during WWII and being assigned on the Mark 1 computer, she continued to work on this after the war, leading them to create the first computer language compiler.
Grace’s work meant that the computer could translate written instructions into code and co-developed one of the earliest standardized computer languages.
In 1991 she was awarded the National Medal of Technology, becoming the first female individual recipient of the honour.
4. Samaira Mehta, Coding prodigy
“I’m really passionate about coding, I want the kids to be the same way because coding is the future and coding is what the world will depend on in the next 10 to 15 years. So if kids learn to code now, [when] they grow up they can think of coding maybe as a career option.” Samaria Mehta, 2019, cnbc.com
Meet Samaria, a 10-year-old coder who has already caught the attention of Microsoft and Google.
At just 10 years of age, Samaria Mehta has created, CodeBunnyz, a comprehensive coding board game, that teaches you all the concepts you need in computer programming. Not only has Samaria created this alternative method to teach coding to young people, but she has also led over 50 workshops, teaching over 2000 kids and spoken at 11 conferences.
Samaria is the next generation of women in technology, bringing a fun and unique approach to get more children and young people into coding and computer programming. Her work has already been recognized in the technology and business sectors as she has won the Youth Entrepreneur award and received $2500 for her company.
The leap forward she has made in such a small amount of time at such a young age, placing her game in over 106 schools, really shows the impact women can have on the tech industry.
She is one of the leading forces, breaking down barriers and showing that not only is tech for girls, it is also somewhere they can make a difference.
All these women have been leaving their mark on the technology industry and we are proud to celebrate them not only because of International Women’s Day but because of the remarkable work they have accomplished.
Diversity and inclusion is an essential ingredient to build a successful business and we should all be championing more women in the technology sector to encourage the next generation.
Look out for part two in this mini-series, looking at building an inclusive environment for women in digital.