three women sitting on chairs in front of table, women in tech

By Raquel Mozzer, Head of M&A Data Strategy, ION Analytics

Female-founded “unicorns” – companies that have reached a valuation of $1 billion or greater – quadrupled in 2021, a huge step forward for securing women a seat at the table.

It’s also great to see tech companies on the female power list, with organisations like New York’s Papaya Global, which makes HR software, the highest valued company at $3.7 billion.

But we’ve got a long way to go before we see gender parity at a C-suite. Businesses founded by women still only make up just 15% of billion-dollar companies, and only 16 are now headed by female CEOs. This is no surprise when you consider recent data that points out that half of women in STEM jobs report experiencing discrimination at work. The reasons for the lack of female tech bosses are multiple and complex. While there has undoubtedly been progress, female tech entrepreneurs still face significant challenges including stereotyping, pay inequality and inadequate maternity provisions. This week, co-founder of Lastminute.com Lady Martha Lane-Fox criticised the lack of gender diversity in the UK technology industry, saying it has not progressed in 25 years. Much of this can be attributed to a lack of representation, especially in male-dominated computer science disciplines.

Having studied Law and Economics, I have always been fascinated by the power of technology. For me, it’s the role tech plays in solving real problems, promoting collaboration and building sustainable systems that makes it so exciting. My curiosity led me to work first at Mergermarket, as part of the M&A research team, and then to Dealogic, where I had the opportunity to hold many roles across the organisation. Upon the acquisition of both companies by ION, I led the integration of the M&A data services, and now embark on a role as the M&A Data Strategist as we prepare for the development of a new and innovative platform for our content.

In my role I am responsible for engaging with clients on benchmarking M&A advisory, ESG, and market performance, in addition to running a global team of more than 90 individuals responsible for our M&A data strategy. I am particularly interested in the ways technology can automate and simplify business processes, freeing up time for innovation. I’m proud to be part of a team of experts changing the way global capital markets work by bringing together an unmatched range of editorial and data capabilities to help drive better decisions. Knowing that I am not only making people’s day-to-day lives easier via technology but working at the forefront of today’s tech innovation, shaping how people make trades and invest all over the world is what makes my job so rewarding.

The tech industry is more welcoming for women today than it ever has been, but there is more to be done. I still only interview one woman for every five men. Like many of my colleagues and friends, I have faced barriers based on gender, location, and position but I am a firm believer that these can be addressed with the right set-up. My generation of women weren’t encouraged into tech, and consequently there are too few female tech leaders for young people to emulate. However, this is slowly changing. There is an abundance of female talent and passion to tap, and I see it as our responsibility to facilitate meaningful discussions on the key learnings, best practice and top issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion in our sector.

It’s encouraging to see organisations going the extra mile in supporting women throughout their careers. At ION, we recently launched Empower – an employee resource group for women in the business. Empower provides mentoring, educational events, and community engagement while cultivating personal and professional relationships that can last a lifetime. Crucially, it’s a place for women to network, share, and learn what is not taught: self-confidence and owning your own career development.

We have started a new workplace mentorship scheme for mothers returning from maternity leave. We recognise that inclusivity is key to increasing employee satisfaction, productivity, and engagement.  and we want to lead with action, setting an atmosphere in which women and mothers can flourish.  It’s vital we give a platform to female leaders who have returned successfully, to inspire others to follow their example.

One of our recent education sessions at Empower addressed imposter syndrome, which is rife among women surviving in a space that has traditionally been male-dominated. We want to emphasise not only belonging, but also those skills women bring in abundance: emotional intelligence, collaboration and problem solving.

Reaching gender parity in the industry must start at the root. The industry can gain a lot by creating environments in schools and colleges where math and science programs are truly open to girls. We can help make that happen by publicising the breadth of careers available now from software engineering and risk management to climate science. For example, it would be great to see more coding clubs in schools and apprenticeship programs to provide real work experience, boost confidence, and in turn, help grow the tech talent pool. There’s always more we can do.

I’m proud that at ION, we are taking steps to build a more balanced and diverse team. The technology sector will benefit from the huge value and talent that comes with greater diversity.

My advice to anyone considering a career in tech is to remember that everyone was once a beginner, and you should never stop looking for opportunities to learn. To see more female founded unicorns in 2023, we need to tackle gender discrimination from all angles: expanding flexible working patterns, growing female support groups and unlocking even more opportunities for girls in STEM.

About the author

Raquel MozzerRaquel Mozzer is Head of M&A Data Strategy at ION Analytics, working to develop technological solutions for traders to analyse new markets, source new deals, monitor live transactions, and profile market participants.

She has a wealth of experience as a woman at the top of her industry, having previously been Global Head of M&A at Dealogic in New York. She is skilled in capital markets, M&A, team management and project management and also holds a dual M.A. focused in Development Management from University of the Western Cape (South Africa) and Ruhr University Bochum (Germany).