WeAreTechWomen – Barriers for Women in Tech infographic 2022

WeAreTechWomen Survey

Last year, WeAreTechWomen partnered with Ipsos MORI and the Tech Talent Charter to look at the barriers women face in the tech industry.

The research canvassed the views of 369 women across a multitude of sectors. The findings included in the infographic show that 1 in 5 women in tech are thinking of leaving their jobs. With just 21% of women working in the tech industry*, if they chose to leave this would have a significant impact in terms of female representation in the sector. The findings also highlighted that 58% of respondents said that visible role models are one of the things that attract them to organisations but noted the lack of female representation at the top of their organisations. The other key finding was that only a third felt that processes and systems were in place to prepare them for promotion.

Mentorship was highly attributed to aid career progression; however, sponsorship opportunities appear to be lacking, with only 1 in 5 stating they have access to sponsorship programmes. Of those who did have access to sponsorship, 55% of them said it has greatly benefitted their career.  With regard to male allies, over 75% of survey respondents stated that at least some men are not allies, two thirds of whom finding that men talk over them or don’t listen in meetings. Only 19% of those surveyed see all or most men as allies, with 85% citing the best way to demonstrate allyship is by giving credit for achievements. It is no surprise that 29% of our respondents also stated they have experienced sexism or gender bias in some form. It is also interesting to see that salary has now become the main driver in terms of women joining a tech organisation (84%), followed by supportive managers (83%) and an inclusive culture (76%).

*Source: 2019 ONS data

A summary of the full report with recommendations to employers is due to be published on 07 February, if you are interested in receiving the summary, please email [email protected]

View the infographic below:

WeAreTechWomen Barriers for Women in Tech Infographic

Get to Know Apple

Bring what you love to what you do | Get to know Apple

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What are you passionate about? Music? Art? Photography? Fitness? Games?

Whatever it is, bring it to the Apple Store in London and share what you love through Apple products. If you have people skills we’ll show you the rest.

Working part-time or full-time, you’ll get special Apple training and the world’s best prices on the world’s best products.

At Apple, we know diversity includes and inclusion empowers. That’s why we’re continually strengthening our long-standing commitment to making our company more inclusive and the world more just.

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As part of a team that delivers great customer experiences, you’ll introduce people to the Apple products that help them do what they love in new ways. Working up front or backstage, you’ll have the chance to make a big difference every day.

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When a customer becomes an owner, it’s the beginning of a relationship. And this team helps make sure that relationship thrives. Have a talent for hands-on problem solving? You can address customers’ technical issues to reconnect them with the Apple experience they love.

Leadership

As an Apple leader, you’ll do more than manage employees. You’ll lead through inspiration, and you’ll help build and develop diverse, highly collaborative teams that deliver the amazing customer experiences people expect from Apple.

Join us for one of our inspiring Virtual Events

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Rising Stars Banner 2022 (800 x 600 px)

Nominations are now open for WeAreTheCity’s 2022 Rising Star Awards

Rising Stars Banner Nominations Open Banner

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to announce that nominations for WeAreTheCity’s 2022 Top 100 Rising Star Awards are now open!

CAST YOUR NOMINATION

Now in its eighth year, the Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level. Our strategic goal, set in 2015, aims to showcase 1,000 outstanding women by 2025. By highlighting the accolades of these women, WeAreTheCity are not only promoting the amazing female talent that exists across the UK, but actively encouraging organisations and business leaders to invest in and recognise these women as leaders of tomorrow and individual contributors to their respective industries.

These awards will recognise and celebrate a further 100 female individual contributors from over 20 different industries that represent the leaders and role models of tomorrow. These winners will join our award’s alumni of 750 previous winners, across the UK and India.

We are now once again inviting you to nominate an amazing woman, champion, man or company. The nominations process for all categories, our Rising Star Champions, Global Award for Achievement, Company of the Year and Men for Gender Balance Awards are now open via the Rising Stars website.

For details of the criteria to enter the awards, visit here.

The process

Nominations are now open via the Rising Stars’ website and will close after a eight week period on 08 March.

A shortlist of ten women from each industry category and ten from the Champion, Global Award for Achievement and Men for Gender Balance categories, alongside three shortlisted companies for the Company of the Year award, will be chosen by an esteemed panel of judges. Once the shortlist is announced, we will also open the public votes of support, which enables individuals to show their support for a specific shortlisted individual.

All winners will be announced in May 2022 and will be invited to celebrate at a prestigious award’s ceremony on 14 July 2022.

Rising Stars Banner 2022(1)

Alongside our Rising Star categories, we are also calling for nominations for Champions, Men for Gender Balance, a Company of the Year, and Global Award for Achievement.

Our Champion award recognises the achievements of five senior individuals, male or female, who are actively supporting the female pipeline outside of their day job. Nominations for this award are individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to gender, eg HeForShe supporters, Network Leaders, Directors, MD’s or C-Suite individuals who are championing women either inside or outside their organisations.

Our Men for Gender Balance award recognises the achievements of five senior men who are championing women and gender balance either inside or outside their organisation. Nominees must be at least Director level (or equivalent) or above, must demonstrate that they have actively supported the female pipeline either through their current work role or external activities and must be working in the UK.

The Company of the Year award recognises the achievements of a company who can clearly demonstrate that they are actively supporting its female talent pipeline through their initiatives, training, development programmes and internal employee relations and diversity network groups.

The Global Award for Achievement category expands our search for global talent. This category is a female individual who works within any industry, outside of the UK, whose current position is below director level.

FIND OUT MORE

Who should nominate?

  • Self-nominations are encouraged
  • Organisations looking to recognise their emerging talent pool
  • Organisation wishing to obtain recognition for their initiatives
  • Individuals who would like to recognise their efforts of their champions/role models
  • Individuals/colleagues/friends/clients/mentors/sponsors of the nominee

NOMINATE NOW

Awards Nominations Tips and Tricks with Vanessa Valley OBE

Have you ever looked at WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star awards and thought about entering? Have you ever seen the winners announced and thought, next year I am going to enter those awards!

Well before you pen your nomination, you might want to join us behind the scenes for this awards nomination tips and tricks, session with founder and serial awards judge, Vanessa Vallely OBE.

During this session Vanessa will explain:

  • Why awards can help raise your profile and give you a platform to do more
  • Why Rising Stars are different to other awards
  • Top tips for constructing a powerful, concise and impactful nomination
  • Insights in to what a judge looks for when they are reading awards nominations
  • Why you should pay it forward and nominate others
  • The beauty of self-nominations

Award’s timeline

Nominations open
10 January 2022

Nominations close
08 March 2022

Shortlist announced
26 April 2022

Public vote opens
27 April 2022

Voting closes
10 May 2022

Shortlist celebration
19 May 2022

Winners announced
24 May 2022

Winner’s celebration event
14 July 2022

POWERED BY

Royal Bank of Canada

SPONSORED BY

Rising Stars Sponsors 2022

A Google pixel 3XL showing Covid-19 information from the Google News app

Looking back at 2021: Our top tech news stories of the year

In the second installment of our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important tech news stories of 2021.

While this year’s main focus was once again the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has still seen Wally Funk make history and become the oldest person in space; Dame Stephanie Shirley and Ray Ozzie receiving a distinguished fellowship from the Chartered Institue for IT; as well as many diversity and gender initiatives launched to help women into tech and STEM.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2022!


Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2021January

In January, it was announced that Salesforce, Google Apple and Microsoft were among the best places to work.

Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies, announced the winners of its 13th annual Employees’ Choice Awards, honouring the Best Places to Work in 2021 across the UK and four other countries. Unlike other workplace awards, the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their job, work environment and employer over the past year.

The Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards highlight Best Places to Work across the UK, France, Germany the U.S. and Canada. Winners are ranked based on their overall rating achieved during the past year.

BT & Code First Girls partnershipFebruary

In February, BT launched a partnership with Code First Girls to help close the UK gender skills gap in tech.

The partnership, which included funding from BT, helps enable Code First Girls, to provide £10,000 worth of free education to every woman undertaking a course with them and to upskill upwards of 900 women. Participating women will also benefit from the expertise of BT’s world class technologists who have helped to shape the Code First Girls courses, ensuring the next generation of women in technology are equipped with the skills they need to succeed.

We also reported that Dragon’s Den star, Piers Linney had joined a campaign to help increase diversity in tech roles.

Former Dragon’s Den star, tech entrepreneur and diversity champion, Piers Linney, called for more to be done to raise awareness of tech careers after new research has revealed that a lack of awareness is preventing young people from entering the technology industry.

Promisingly, the research, conducted by global emerging talent and reskill training provider, mthree, found that despite rising levels of youth unemployment, 78% of Financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences businesses continued hiring for entry level and graduate tech roles throughout the pandemic in 2020, while 92% are planning to do so in 2021.

March

March saw us celebrating International Women’s Day – with a number of tech companies launching initiative to support women in tech.

Entain, the leading global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, were one such company, launching a series of international initiatives to support girls and young women interested in building careers in technology.

Entain partnered with Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organisation working to close the gender gap in technology; and The Tech Girls Movement in Australia.

School of Code also launched a new part-time bootcamp to help transform lives and diversify tech during the COVID-19 pandemic.

School of Code is on a mission to get more and different types of people into Tech. They are closing the digital skills gap by turning diverse cohorts of people into work-ready full stack developers suited to remote, Agile teams. The bonus: It’s free to attend. Funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority, corporate sponsors, and employer partners levels the playing field and eliminates barriers to entry.

April

In April, we celebrated International Girls in ICT Day!

Girls in ICT Days aims to encourage and empower girls and young women to consider studies and car​eers in the growing field of ICTs,​ enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.

International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April.

woman wearing a white lab coat working on an engineering project, International Women in Engineering DayJune

June marked International Women in Engineering Day – with it being reported that female engineers are more likely to be victims of recruitment bias.

Women trying to return to the engineering industry after a career break are more likely to experience recruitment bias than men, according to a survey by STEM Returners.

The survey, published on International Women in Engineering Day, showed 27% of women feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to their gender, compared to 8% of men. Furthermore, 30% of women said they feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to childcare responsibilities compared to 6% of men.

Blue Origin First Human Flight Wally FunkJuly

In July, Wally Funk became the oldest person to go into space!

Wally Funk made history by becoming the oldest person to go into space, and finally realised her dream of being an astronaut.

Thanks to Jeff Bezos, Funk was finally able to go into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard first crewed flight to space. The journey was New Shepard’s 16th flight to space.

Wally is an American aviator, commercial astronaut, and Goodwill Ambassador.

She was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first female civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the first female Federal Aviation Agency inspector.

Wally is also one of the Mercury 13. The Mercury 13 Women in Space Program was a privately-funded program to see how women would cope with space training.

The women were put through the same rigorous physical and mental testing as male astronauts. Wally passed her tests and was qualified to go into space. Her score was the third best in the Mercury 13 program.

However, despite completing their training, the program was cancelled, and none of the thirteen flew.

Wally never gave up her dream of going into space and  when NASA finally began accepting women in the late 1970s, Funk applied three times. Despite her impressive credentials, she was turned down for not having an engineering degree or a background as a test pilot.

September

In September, it was reported that women and BAME indivduals are disproportionally affected by cybercrime.

The ‘Demographics of Cybercrime’ report, conducted by Malwarebytes, a global leader in real-time cyberprotection, and US-based non-profit partners, Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network, found that uncovered that certain demographic groups are disproportionally impacted by cybercrime.

The report, which polled more than 5,000 people across the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, details how consumers experience cybercrime worldwide, demonstrating cybercrime does not impact everyone equally. In fact, the report illustrates that demographics impact how often individuals are targeted, as well as their emotional response to becoming a victim.

Overall analysis of data suggests disadvantaged groups facing barriers in society feel less safe about their online experiences, are more likely to fall victim to an attack, and at times report experiencing a heavier emotional burden when responding to cyberattacks.

On a more positive note, Tech She Can became a charity – inspiring more young girls and women into technology careers.

As a charity, Tech She Can, working together with its board of Trustees and member organisations will be able to extend its reach and impact.

Tech She Can was created in 2018 with 18 founding organisations following a research initiative into why girls and young women are less likely to study technology-based subjects, and pursue tech careers

October

October saw Supermums launch a new campaign to help mothers bounce back from the pandemic.

The campaign will help to shine a light on the career opportunities that exist for women (and beyond) that can give them flexible, well paid, resilient careers and financial independence. They will also be sharing positive new stories and sharing educational stories and information to help mums bounce back.

Supermums was founded on a mission to help mums secure a flexible well paid resilient career. The idea originated from our founder Heather Black when she personally experienced the trauma of losing a business and career when new economic and political changes were imposed beyond her control in 2011 which proved to be a turning point in her life. She had to find a way to bounce back and to launch a new career path.

Dame Stephanie Shirley & Ray OzzieNovember

In November, Dame Stephanie Shirley and Ray Ozzie received a distinguished fellowship from the Chartered Institue for IT.

Global IT entrepreneur and workplace revolutionary turned ardent philanthropist, Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, and software industry pioneer Ray Ozzie were awarded Distinguished Fellowships from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

The awards are given to individuals whose contribution to computing is seen in terms of major importance to the overall development of computing, with substantial personal recognition through peer review over a substantial and sustained career.

Dame Stephanie arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939. In 1962, she founded an all-woman software company that pioneered remote working, upending the expectations of the time. It was ultimately valued at almost $3 billion and made 70 of her staff millionaires. Since ‘retiring’, her focus has been on philanthropy, and she has given away almost £70m to fund strategic projects in autism and IT. She joined the BCS as a student member on its foundation in 1957 and was its first woman President in 1989-90.

Ray Ozzie was formerly best known for his role in creating Lotus Notes. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1979 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he worked on the PLATO system. He began his career at Data General Corporation where he worked for Jonathan Sachs. Ozzie then worked at Software Arts and was later recruited by Sachs and Mitch Kapor to work for Lotus Development to develop what became Lotus Symphony.


Ada Lovelace Day: Tech’s most influential women share their views

Tuesday 12th October marks Ada Lovelace Day, an annual celebration championing the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Lovelace, who helped implement visionary insights on computing, leaves a lasting legacy of the importance of female diversity. Yet, despite her achievements, there were one million women in STEM roles in 2020, equating to only 24% of the STEM workforce.

With a cross parliamentary report concluding that bringing women into the STEM workforce is an “economic imperative”, what more can be done to ensure women are encouraged into these fields? Some of the most influential women in the tech sector share their thoughts.

Early encouragement is key

Sofia Ceppi SecondmindThough she lived two centuries ago, much of the modern tech sector can learn from Lovelace’s legacy. According to Sofia Ceppi, Research Integration Lead at Secondmind, her work reminds us we should, “Not see the STEM world as one just for men… women must be shown the possibilities for them in STEM without bias. Ada’s mother was a mathematician and encouraged Ada to pursue the subject herself. We must remove the imposition of biases that can happen from an early age, so that all girls – and everybody for that matter – do not see the STEM world as one just for men.”

Daniela Da CruzTackling the gender imbalance at its roots is vital, says Daniela da Cruz, Head of Engineering of SAST and Engines at Checkmarx, “Engage girls from a young age, and develop their sense of STEM identity. Positive and early exposure will make the difference and lead us to a future where women in STEM is the norm.”

Learning from role models

Like Lovelace’s mother, da Cruz believes role models are the best way to open up the sector, “Young people are motivated by seeing those they admire in positions of power. Whether it’s their favourite sporting star, business person, or pop star, young girls need relatable role models whose footsteps they can follow in. At the moment, there just isn’t enough visibility of these women in the STEM field.”

Julie Lerman PluralsightThis was the case for Julie Lerman, Pluralsight Author and Software Coach: “I had an amazing role model growing up (my mother) and was raised with the belief that I could do whatever I wanted. It never occurred to me, even when consistently being one of the only women in the room, that I didn’t belong in tech. I want to share this attitude with anyone who is typically told or shown that they don’t belong in tech. There are many communities and businesses that are welcoming that have a healthy, diverse environment where you are seen and heard, where you are given opportunity to learn and grow.”

Rosie GallanczRosie Gallancz, Software Engineer at VMware Pivotal Labs, echoes this, “While I’ve been lucky to have opportunities and role models to help guide me along the way, that’s sadly by no means the case for all women and girls getting into engineering – and there’s certainly still lots of lip service to diversity and inclusion in the industry.”

“Additionally, in my earlier days in the industry, I found previous clients of mine tended to direct questions and presentations to the men in the room. I was lucky to have a strong mentor to put a stop to this behaviour and that has spurred me on to strive for working environments where gender has no bearing on ability to answer technical questions.”

Jen Rodvold Sopra SteriaWe can’t “forget the importance of role models,” voiced Jen Rodvold, Head of Digital Ethics & Tech for Good at Sopra Steria. She added that the thousands of women already working in STEM can also “help to inspire the next generation, showing that girls and women can thrive in these exciting careers.”

Embracing diverse skillsets and experiences 

Still, it was not just Lovelace’s technical intelligence which drove her. Ceppi believes her work proves “the value of different perspectives. Her love of poetry meant Ada embraced her intuition and imagination, using this to challenge assumptions and effectively apply science and mathematical concepts to problems.”

Susan FazelpoorInterestingly, Susan Fazelpoor, COO at Demand Science, argues, “While having an education in STEM can provide some incredible career paths, you do not need it to get involved in tech. This is something I don’t think many people fully realise; therefore, they don’t even try. To help change this perception, it is important that businesses fully communicate to both employees and prospective workers what they can offer and what skills these workers need to demonstrate if they want to secure these roles. Often just having that conversation can make a huge difference to a person’s career.”

“STEM skills can be taught to anyone,” echoed Clair Griffin, Projects Director at Vysiion, recalling her own untraditional route into tech, “Business’ need to expand their hiring reach beyond the usual candidates and take more risks. My first boss employed me as a software engineer even though I had no previous coding experience.”

Valuing broader skills and a wider range of backgrounds is ultimately vital in opening STEM up to women, continued Fazelpoor, “If we all take steps to encourage a diverse set of voices, we will be able to truly take advantage of all the exciting areas of technology that are being developed.

“As my father used to say, ‘there is nothing you can’t do, just be yourself’.”

Challenging stereotypes and changing culture

Nan Craig, Data Analyst at Faethm AI argues that “present-day underrepresentation is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the issues facing women in the STEM industry,” with threats from automation meaning businesses should put reskilling women at the top of the agenda.

“Faethm data for example shows that in the ‘Professional, Scientific and Technical Services’ sector, women currently occupy over 70% of administrative roles, but 42.5% of the work these roles require is likely to be automated over the next 5 years. If we contrast this with the predicted rate of automation across the sector as a whole, which is quite low at 13%, then we get a strong indication that women in STEM are likely to be disproportionately affected by automation.”

Ursula Morgenstern CognizantAnother significant barrier to changing the STEM sector is how entrenched the gender imbalance is. According to Ursula Morgenstern, President, Global Growth Markets at Cognizant, better gender representation “requires a change in the organisation culture and the creation of a sense of belonging where women can become their best selves.”

She continues, “I truly believe that affinity groups are critical in building a diverse workforce and providing support beyond financial aids for childcare. For example, Cognizant’s Women Empowered group comprises approximately 1,142 members from across UK and Ireland and has been pivotal in breaking genders barriers.”

The pandemic brought to light the inequalities women face as part of the workforce, says Rodvold, “Despite gender parity advancements, women are still more likely to have a disproportionate responsibility for caring and domestic duties that make it harder for them to progress – or even stay – in work.”

Kate GregoryUltimately, the responsibility for culture change doesn’t lie with women, voiced Kate Gregory, Pluralsight Author and C++ Expert, “I tell young women today that if you find a horrible co-worker or a horrible employment environment, that’s not about you, it’s about them, and better workplaces and co-workers exist. Don’t let the bad ones push you out. Find a place with less bad ones. I know that’s hard work, but at least it’s possible. You don’t need to quit tech because of a horrible workplace. They are the ones who are not good enough; you’re terrific.”

The benefits for the whole industry

Kat Judd LucidWelcoming more women into the sector should be a business priority, according to Kat Judd, SVP People & Culture at Lucid, “Businesses have a great opportunity at the moment to help change the narrative around women in tech, and it is important they do not pass it up.” She adds, “The new hybrid way of working is a golden opportunity to encourage women to stay in roles, and help them reach those leadership positions that many may have felt were unattainable in the past.”

qlik-Poornima-Ramaswamy-970x550Developing fields like AI need women to succeed. “Since AI analyses patterns that are based on historical data,” notes Poornima Ramaswamy, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions and Partners at Qlik. “Models can be skewed if they lack demographic categories such as a balanced representation of female data. To avoid gender bias – or any bias, in fact – and develop inclusive solutions, we therefore need to make sure that not only the target audience of a solution is representative, but so, too, are the teams creating them.”

“Diversity brings different viewpoints and characteristics to the table, which is fundamental to achieving inclusive innovation and solutions.”

Roisin Wherry Grayce“There’s a growing digital skills gap in the country,” says Roisin Wherry, Internal IT & Innovation Manager at Grayce. “So it’s imperative that we encourage as many individuals as possible to follow their aspirations in the STEM sector – especially considering the diverse talent pool the UK has at its disposal.”


WeAreTechWomen launch partnership with Speakers for Schools to inspire the next generation of technologists

Speakers for Schools & WeAreTechWomen Partnership-1

WeAreTechWomen are proud to announce a partnership with Speakers for Schools to inspire the next generation of technologists.

Speakers for Schools help young people access the top opportunities through free inspiring school talks and eye-opening onsite and virtual work experience.

As part of this partnership, WeAreTechWomen and Speakers for Schools will be hosting an event – “What does working in Technology look like?” – on 02 November.

The event will bring together an amazing array of WeAreTechWomen’s award’s community with girls and young women, to help encourage them into STEM and technology careers.

The super-talented technologists, from across gaming, special effects, climate change, cybersecurity, web design, artificial intelligence, engineering, space technology and more, will share their career stories and advice.

During the event, there will be the opportunity to pose questions to our experts and to find out what a career in technology really looks like.

Vanessa Vallely OBESpeaking about the partnership, Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director, WeAreTheCity & WeAreTechWomen, said, “WeAreTechWomen are delighted to be partnering with Speakers for Schools to encourage more young people to consider careers in technology.”

“Our children’s tech conference will showcase the career stories of ten of our previous TechWomen100 Award winners and enable over 200 children to find out what it is really like to work in technology.”

“I am exceptionally proud to be partnering with Speakers for Schools and to be able to provide a platform for our award-winning role models to pay it forward and  inspire the next generation of technologists.”

Jason ElsomJason Elsom, Chief Executive Officer, Speakers for Schools added, “We are delighted to partner with WeAreTechWomen on this brilliant event.”

“In a world that is increasingly digitalised, there are a growing number of exciting job opportunities in the technology sector, but as they are less traditional by nature, young people can be less familiar with the career paths available.”

“Partnerships like this ensure we connect young women to careers in dynamic industries, no matter what background or circumstance.”

“This event is a fantastic opportunity to encourage young people into the industry.”

Discover more about Speakers for Schools below

Have you ever wondered how apps are made or how social media platforms are built? Have you ever seen computer generated images in movies and wondered how they did that?

Have you ever played a game online and questioned how those images were made or wondered how websites are built? The answer is technology – something we all use every hour of every day!

From buying tube tickets, to buying clothes online, Googling, making calls or sending messages. There are millions of technologists all over the world, in thousands of different jobs, who bring this technology to life. These individuals not only enable us to enjoy life through the use of technology,but they also build tech and systems that save lives and help solve big societal issues, like poverty and climate change.

Join Speakers for Schools and WeAreTechWomen as we take you on an incredible journey, where you will hear career stories from a group of super-talented technologists in gaming, special effects, climate change, cyber security, web design, artificial intelligence, robotics, engineering and space technology. The day will run from 10.30am-2pm on 2nd November. During this event there will be the opportunity to pose questions to our experts and to find out what a career in technology really looks like. What are you waiting for?

FIND OUT MORE

Blue Origin First Human Flight Wally Funk

Wally Funk becomes the oldest person to go into space

Wally Funk has made history by becoming the oldest person to go into space, and has finally realised her dream of being an astronaut.

Thanks to Jeff Bezos, Funk was finally able to go into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard first crewed flight to space. The journey was New Shepard’s 16th flight to space.

Funk and Bezos were also be joined by his brother Mark Bezos, and the auction winner on the flight, 18-year-old, Oliver Daemen.

The flight lasted around 11 minutes from launch to capsule landing. Astronauts experienced three to four minutes of zero-gravity and travelled above the Karman Line, which is considered to be the boundary of space.

About Wally Funk

Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk was born 1st February 1939, in Las Vegas.

Wally is an American aviator, commercial astronaut, and Goodwill Ambassador.

She was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first female civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the first female Federal Aviation Agency inspector.

Wally is also one of the Mercury 13. The Mercury 13 Women in Space Program was a privately-funded program to see how women would cope with space training.

The women were put through the same rigorous physical and mental testing as male astronauts. Wally passed her tests and was qualified to go into space. Her score was the third best in the Mercury 13 program.

However, despite completing their training, the program was cancelled, and none of the thirteen flew.

Wally never gave up her dream of going into space and  when NASA finally began accepting women in the late 1970s, Funk applied three times. Despite her impressive credentials, she was turned down for not having an engineering degree or a background as a test pilot.

In July 2020, Wally published a memoir, Higher Faster Longer —My Life in Aviation and My Quest for Space Flight .

Watch the launch below


About Blue Origin

Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos with the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth. To preserve Earth, Blue Origin believes that humanity will need to expand, explore, find new energy and material resources, and move industries that stress Earth into space. Blue Origin is working on this today by developing partially and fully reusable launch vehicles that are safe, low cost and serve the needs of all civil, commercial and defense customers. Blue’s efforts to fly astronauts to space on New Shepard, produce reusable liquid rocket engines, create a highly-reusable orbital launch vehicle with New Glenn and return Americans to the surface of the Moon—this time to stay—will add new chapters to the history of spaceflight and move us closer to fulfilling that founding vision.

Blue Origin Astronaut Crew Flight Suits

Engineering students

What does the perfect engineering graduate look like?

Engineering students

Article provided by Sarah Acton, a metalworking fluids sales engineer, who writes for Akramatic Engineering

For some time now, there has been a bit of a disconnect between how universities and engineering companies — and even the world at large — view the ideal engineering graduate.

According to a survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, nearly 3 out of 4 businesses are worried about the practical, work-related skills of graduated students — and if they are able enough to enter into the work. The concern here being, that engineering graduates have plenty of academic knowledge, but in a way that doesn’t really translate well outside of educational institutions.

For engineers, this is yet another concern to be added to the pile. There is already a massive recruitment shortage in engineering. The last thing the sector needs is a skills shortage in the few who do apply.

Inexperienced graduates and the productivity gap

It is not uncommon to hear about industry professionals struggling with graduates who appear to lack the skills. I personally know an acquaintance who worked in the motorsport industry, developing engines for racing cars. His stories often involved new recruits fresh from university, who didn’t have a clue about many practical methods and protocols.

This meant that it took a while to gradually introduce students to the process, meaning up to six months of productivity was stalled by the inexperience.

If there is just one industry where you can’t fake it until you make it, it’s engineering. After all the well-put-together presentations, and all the talk of theory and analysis, inevitably an engineer will actually have to sit down and make something, using practical skills that work.

Another manifestation of this “fake it” attitude resides in graduates who think degrees from prestigious universities will automatically give them a head up when it comes to seeking employment. It won’t. And as we have been seeing, some of the top-university students are losing out to job applicants from less attractive (on paper) universities because of a lack of practical experience.

Practicality and ‘side projects’

But even if a university course itself is mostly theoretical, there’s still lots to do voluntarily within the university to strengthen a CV application.

One such thing is the Formula Student competition. It challenges students to build racing cars, and to them race them all over the world. And despite a perception that such voluntary acts are ‘side projects’ most employers will see them as integral parts to learning and development.

For example with Formula Student, what the job applicant can essentially say is that they have worked within a team of 40 or more students, with a modest project budget (or perhaps £100,000), to build an incredibly complicated, functioning vehicle.

Practical experience has been linked with better overall academic performances and, with all that learning and achievement to talk about, it’s hardly surprising that students with side projects also perform much better in interviews.

In short, the perfect engineering graduate isn’t necessarily prestigious university alumni. In fact, if anything, the opposite is true. Practical experience is king, above all, background or education.

Minorities in engineering 

What then, can we say for minorities in engineering? Both BME and women are underrepresented (with women being ‘severely’ underrepresented according to Engineering UK’s State of the Nation report). If there’s anything we can do culturally to boost their numbers — which is important given the recruitment shortfalls we are currently facing — it’s that we make sure engineering is open to everyone.

To do this we don’t even have to make changes that are terribly ambitious. We only have to speak to minorities about possibilities in the world of engineering. From personal experience, I’ve spoken to many women — engineers and non-engineers — who’ve said that engineering was never advertised to them as a possible career growing up. Engineering needs to be advertised as suitable and welcoming no matter what you look like.

It’s also true that underrepresented groups are having success in building networks to help open up the field. Networking is a great place for women and BME candidates to build up contacts, find out about opportunities, and to reframe the sector.

To summarise 

In short: the perfect engineer is one who has good practical skills. It does not matter if you attend the most expensive, most privileged, or a lesser known education centre.

In terms of physicality, how the perfect engineer “looks” shouldn’t matter. But unfortunately, it almost certainly still does in some job roles, and parts of the industry. But that is starting to change. With more inclusive outreach campaigns to younger women in education, more visible representation in the sector, and with networking for underrepresented minorities, hopefully the only thing future engineers will have to worry about is their practical experience.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.


Girls in tech, STEM

Ensuring equality for the engineering sector through education

Girls in tech, STEM

Although the engineering sector is primarily male dominated, the sector actually has the potential to be an inspirational leader in equality.

If we were to define engineering, it would come down to the capability of shaping technology, which is a creative combination. Engineering is ultimately conceiving, designing and developing technology systems, their parts, and the related vertical applications.

An industry for everyone

Like many industries, the engineering sector has significantly evolved over the last few decades. Despite this, the constant core capability of an engineer is to design and build a technological framework. This characteristic should be one of the key driving forces to strive for equality. Why? Because technology is neutral, it is neither good nor bad, and is there to be tailored to assist the needs of us humans. Therefore, a profession based on technology, and on the capability of using it in the design and development stages, starts with a great advantage. Certainly, the neutrality of technology is a great responsibility for engineers, because along with their systems, they can also shape it to benefit humanity.

Essential enginnering education

At this point, education is key to largely improving the potential for equality within the sector. There is a lot of content in the education domain which can help reach this goal. The first is recognising technology as an ally of humanity, rather than a competitor. The pandemic has clearly shown all humans do not need to be afraid of technology – because it is neutral. An example of this is with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based robots, which are a major outcome of the amazing progress of engineering over the last few decases. The relationship between humans and AI-based robots should be more cooperative and thus based on a peer-to-peer approach. By educating younger generations on this, society will be much more educated around the benefits of technology.

Education on the above items can make the difference in the way engineers approach the ideation, design and development of systems and their vertical domains. The effects would then result almost automatically in a broader, deeper and more lasting equality in the field. There has never been a more important time for us to encourage education in this field, especially for women, who may feel that it is not as achievable.

Marina RuggieriAbout the author

Marina Ruggieri is an IEEE fellow and Full Professor of Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Roma “Tor Vergata”. She is co-founder and Chair of the Steering Board of the interdisciplinary Center for Teleinfrastructures (CTIF) at the University of Roma “Tor Vergata”. The Center focuses on the use of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for vertical applications (health, energy, cultural heritage, economics, law) by integrating terrestrial, air and space communications, computing, positioning and sensing.


Discover more for International Women in Engineering Day:

Kerrine Bryan featuredInspirational Woman: Kerrine Bryan | Award-winning Engineer and Founder of Butterfly Books

Kerrine Bryan – an award winning black female engineer and founder of Butterfly Books.

Kerrine has gone on to smash many glass ceilings to become respected in her field.

She was shortlisted in Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35 for notable women in business and, in 2015, she won the Precious Award for outstanding woman in STEM. Kerrine is a volunteer mentor for the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET) and is an avid STEM Ambassador. It was while she was undertaking talks at various schools across the country for children about engineering and what her job entails that she became inspired to set up her independent publishing house, Butterfly Books.

In response to this, Kerrine published a series of books (My Mummy Is A Scientist, My Mummy Is An Engineer and My Mummy Is A Plumber) as a means of communicating to children a positive message about all kinds of professions, especially STEM careers, that are suffering skill gaps and diversity issues. The fourth book in the series, My Mummy Is A Farmer, launched last month – August 2018.

Read Kerrine's full interview here


Engineering: a world that works for everyone

It seems obvious, but if we want to design a world that is meant to work for everyone, we need women in the room. But this is rarely the case.

Most offices are five degrees too cold for women, because the formula to determine their temperature was developed in the 1960s based on the metabolic resting rate of a 40-year-old, 70kg man; women’s metabolisms are slower.

Despite research showing that women are more likely to own an iPhone than men, the average smartphone is now 5.5 inches, allowing the average man to comfortably use his device one handed – but the average woman’s hand is not much bigger than the handset itself.

These are all examples from the excellent work of feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez – most famous for campaigning for better representation of women on British banknotes – who argues that the people taking the decisions that affect us all are mostly white, able-bodied men.

Read the full piece here


Young asian female chemists with senior caucasian chemist working together in lab, looking into microscope, Women in STEM

Success in STEM and overcoming hurdles – from one woman to another

Article provided by Amy Nelson, Chair of the TCG PC Client Work Group

It is no great secret that women are disproportionately underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, under one third of the world’s researchers are female, and even women that do work in STEM careers are published less frequently and receive less pay than their male counterparts.

But it is vital that we have women working in these fields. The United Nations recognise that science and gender equality are of the utmost importance for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, yet girls are continuously excluded from participating. What’s more, a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) showed that companies that make an effort to diversify their management teams see more innovative products and services, and higher revenue as a result.

The large number of males in STEM careers is something I have witnessed first-hand throughout my career in cybersecurity. This being said, my experiences at Dell and Trusted Computing Group (TCG) have revealed that women are consistently breaking barriers in the technology industry, and gaining well-deserved recognition for doing so! But obviously, there are still hurdles for us to overcome.

The importance of diversity in cybersecurity

 If the last year has shown us anything, it is the importance of the internet for staying connected and allowing us to function through the strangest of times. However, the more we rely on technology, the greater the threat is for interference and attacks, and the more devastating their potential. That is why the importance of cybersecurity is more prevalent than ever, and why diversity lead innovation is vital to the industry right now.

With over 25 years of experience in the field, I have come to understand the layout of the technology landscape well. After undertaking a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University, I landed a job as a Component Engineer at Dell, where I have worked my way up through the company ever since. I am also the inventor or co-inventor of eight patents. I represent Dell within TCG, where I hold several positions including Chair of the TCG’s Technical Committee, and participate in a number of work groups, driving forward cybersecurity within the PC industry.

Alongside my technical contributions across the cybersecurity landscape, I am passionate about promoting technical careers as viable paths for young women. Alongside mentoring women in STEM programmes and technical roles within Dell, I have participated in Dell recruiting events at the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference, making invaluable connections with the next generation of empowering females in our industry.

How I overcame the hurdles

One of the first questions I was asked by a new mentee related to the corporate culture - what the environment is like, whether people are collaborative or confrontational, whether there will be diversity of opinions? In short, the corporate culture is a difficult place to navigate as a woman.

Women who end up in engineering are talented and can do the work, but sometimes the biggest hurdle is how they progress and influence their career while remaining true to their core personality. There is a certain set of behaviours that are encouraged that women don't typically find a natural fit for, which means we have to work a little harder to earn our space in an arena dominated by men.

I had to find the space to be heard using my soft skills as well as technical knowledge to find that space. In a corporate environment, attributes like creative thinking, resolving conflicts and communication are fundamental, and arguably equal in importance to your specialised skills. Advancement gets progressively more difficult as candidates for promotion are identified by the outcome of self-promotion and open conversations about career goals. In my personal experience and from insights gained from mentoring other women seeking to advance, women engineers have the skills, experience and talent needed but feel uncomfortable with self-promotion and career advancement networking.

TCG provided me with an avenue to learn and develop. To be successful in TCG requires communication skills, being able to verbalize an idea succinctly and coherently is important. I have found other useful skills to be negotiation, networking skills and being able to advocate and sell your proposals. It offered me the ability to observe various communication styles, assess what was effective and what was not, and the opportunity to develop leadership skills by volunteering to co-chair work groups or edit specifications.  Participating in a standards organization has served me well in my career because this type of participation is prized by managers when looking at candidates for advancement.

My advice for women in STEM

 Some of my biggest struggles and experiences have helped me mentor and support other

women in STEM careers. Figuring it out as I went along has allowed me to recognise specific pieces of advice that I can give to young women starting out in this tough industry.

My main piece of advice would be to rely on those women around you; it is important to support each other and find allies when we’re the minority gender in the field. Seek out diverse mentors; there is a lot to learn from others’ experiences, struggles and victories, whether they’re similar or starkly different from your own.

Be confident in your career aspirations, and don’t be afraid to vocalise these. Talking to others about where you hope to be, and what you hope to achieve will open doors for you, as they will make you aware of opportunities to get there and achieve those goals. After all, those in STEM careers are working towards new ways to innovate and advance, every day.

Focus on the skills that each job will offer you to advance in your career. Don’t just consider whether you will like the position but view it in terms of where it will take you. The perfect position doesn’t exist, but each job will provide you with a specific skill set that will aid you in advancing your career.

Lastly, make yourself known to management and others in the organisation. Of course face-to-face meetings have proved difficult over the course of the last year, and while technology has offered us so much, connecting in person will always remain unparalleled. Help quieter voices be heard and get things on the table in a way that people are comfortable with, rather than allowing dominating voices to flood discussions. That’s how diversity, not just in terms of gender, race and age, but in terms of opinions, will lead to meaningful advances and innovation.

Amy NelsonAbout the author

Over the last 25 years, Amy Nelson has built up an extensive repertoire within the IT and cybersecurity space. She represents Dell within the Trusted Computing Group, where Amy holds several positions, including chair of the PC Client Work Group and TCG’s Technical Committee. Alongside her technical experience and contributions, Amy is keen to promote technology as a career for women and has served as a mentor to young women in STEM.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.