WeAreTechWomen International Womens Day

Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal.

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing global attention on areas requiring further action.

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8, with the first day being held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachForEqual.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked women in tech, from across all backgrounds, ethnicity and ages, to tell us what exactly the day means to them:

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain“For me, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to amplify women’s voices in contexts they aren’t usually heard. In rail, the gender imbalance contributes to a lack of policy and operations that accurately reflect the needs of a diverse range of women; whilst this is improving, the rate is extremely slow. International Women’s Day provides a much-needed space to ensure their voices are heard and celebrated, and that we can build in further opportunities for permanent, growing involvement of women at all levels and all days of the year.” 


Daisy is heading up a campaign called ‘Women in STEM’ which encourages young women and girls aged under 25 to pursue careers in rail.

Jenene Crossan“Today is a day we should all pause, reflect and celebrate what women have achieved as a gender. It is also a day to remind ourselves to continue to actively uplift, support and motivate one another (regardless of gender). By working together, as one community, we can achieve equal representation and voice in male dominated environments.”



Karen Panetta“Unfortunately, many of the great female role models for me growing up were already long passed away, like Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace, Heddy Lamar, and Grace Hopper. We need role models among us now, both up and coming leaders and well-established leaders in engineering. Young women need to see and believe that they can aspire to be like the women they see now doing great things. Every woman’s path is different, and as society and technology evolves, so do the challenges for young engineers. We need cohorts who understand each other and the challenges we face today on our career and education paths. We spend so much time educating young women to convince them to go into STEM – but once they get there, they may find that the working culture and environment is not what they expected, simply because we have only trained half of the population that women have a place in STEM careers. Organisations must train all of their employees about the implicit biases that drive women and minorities away from the workplace.”


Christina Howell“For me, Women’s International Day is about three things: Reflecting on those Women who have been instrumental. The women who have been the pioneers who enabled technology and stood up for change. Realising in today’s world, we have so much opportunity to be what we want to be and can be what we want to be if we have faith and determination in ourselves. In the future, the reality is we all responsible for promoting change, diversity, and a better balance in our workplace. But like all before us, we still need to stand up.”


Gabi Matic“International Women’s Day has always been an important day when I was growing up. My dad would always bring flowers home for my mum, my sister and me and I enjoyed learning about all those inspiring women online and in newspapers. People just seem to try a little harder to highlight all the great females out there on that day and I think it inspired me a lot when I was younger as well as today. I still try to celebrate it every year. Sometimes by telling the women in my life I appreciate them or promoting some of the impressive things they have achieved.”


Caroline Carruthers“International Women’s Day holds a special place as it is what inspired me to be me,” says Caroline. “Reading about all the incredible women out there and all of their accomplishments, especially in STEM, made me realise one of the most important things in my life: I needed to stop trying to fit in and just use my own voice. The truly authentic me has so much more fun and has achieved so much more than I had ever thought possible- all spurred on by hearing the inspiring stories of women all over the world!”


Alice Beylan“For me, women’s day is an occasion to celebrate all the successes of women around the globe . As a Latina, is amazing to see how much we have evolved in the society, all thanks to the amazing things that women have done and keep doing. This is the best opportunity to celebrate all of us and how far we have got!”



Jenny Kenyon“For me, International Women’s Day is a reminder for everyone- men and women- to not only ‘talk the talk’, but to also ‘walk the walk’ in working towards equality in and out of the workplace. It’s a time for all of us to reflect on the achievements of the generations that came before us, understand our own responsibility in the present, and actively inspire & empower the next generation. The diverse and successful communities that are celebrated on International Women’s Day remind me that while we may have a long way to go before we have a fully equal society, we are stronger working together than we will ever be apart!”


Charly Lester“One of the things which I love about International Women’s Day is that it inspires so many panels and events where a light is shone on truly incredible women. Over the years I’ve found new role models and been really inspired by women who I may not have heard about if it weren’t for this annual celebration.”



Tina Valand“This year International Women’s Day is a really special one for me as one of the Tech Women 100, I believe equality in our workplace is essential. Technology plays a major part in societal norms and changes the tractegory of the next generations future but now more than as the speed at which everything around us is changing is crazy! We need to embrace the change. Everyone needs to raise their voice, thoughts and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. Otherwise the new world will not be right for you.The theme this year about “An equal world is enabled world” and it is spot on. I am passionate that this includes people from different genders, cultures, backgrounds, class, that is what International Women’s day is about. Celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women in an inclusive way. We are all different, we have something to say, we want to listen and learn from you and today is a day to celebrate us! #EachforEqual”


Sunaina Aytan“International women’s day is more then just a day, it’s an entire month full of celebration! It’s one of my favourite times of the year as women from all over the world showcase their work and achievements in every industry. We take out time from our lives and come together to celebrate a women’s work from the past, present and future. The energy and optimism floating around is enough to make any women feel her absolute best but also reminds us of the work that still needs to be done. As a Women in Cyber, I take this time to reflect and to help pave way for our future girls in tech.”


Lisa Ventura“Women in the cyber security and technology industries have made huge and positive strides, but much more needs to be done to close the gender gap. Women are still “put off” by entering what are perceived to be very male-dominated industries, and International Women’s Day is a great opportunity for women in the industry not only to shine but to celebrate their achievements. It is also a fantastic opportunity to encourage more women to enter the industry and a platform to showcase the many, varied and exciting opportunities the tech and cyber security industry has to offer. For me personally International Women’s Day holds great significance as I have overcome many challenges to get where I am today as a woman in the industry, and I will always celebrate the day and the huge achievements that women in technology have made from all over the world.”


Nancy Thomson“I think opportunities for women to work in the STEM sector are better than they have been for any previous generation and that can only be a good thing.  When I started Thomson in 2004, I was one of very few women business owners in the sector.  Thankfully things are changing and at Thomson we continue to support women by maintaining a gender balanced workforce and ensure our female colleagues are supported and empowered to be the best versions of themselves.  On International Women’s Day I would encourage all women in leadership roles to take on board lines from William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus which read: I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”


Vimla Appadoo“International Women’s Day never loses its impact for me. It’s a day to celebrate the struggles and the wins, and for women across the world to come together to support each other, push each other forward and use our voices to represent the silenced. IWD shines a light on how far we’ve come and how far we have to go – let’s do this.”



Agata Jones“IWD for me is a day which reminds me how far we women have come since we were first allowed to vote in 1918, but also how far we still have to go 102 years later, to fully incorporate values that guide IWD into our everyday lives: justice, dignity, hope, equality, collaboration, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy and forgiveness.”



Tara Annison“I think International Women’s Day is a great chance to highlight some of the fantastic work that women are doing across a whole range of industries. However, it shouldn’t be the only day we do this, so I think it’s especially important that we use this day as a springboard to help shine a light on the work people are doing but keep shining that light today and beyond.”



Bryony Grimes“International Women’s Day is a special opportunity to really shout about the achievements of women. For me it is about coming together as a community to celebrate our ambitions, our goals and those who inspire us – to unabashedly ‘scream from the rooftops’ about what we as women are capable of. All in order to help another woman, or young girl, who might be doubting herself or her path.”



Sotira Georgiou“International Women’s Day for me is about ensuring everyone has equal opportunities and equal representation, irrespective of background, status and gender. As Ramboll UK STEM Network Lead, Women’s Engineering Society Early Careers Board Member and Hants and Dorset Cluster Co-ordinator and Women in Property Committee member, I am extremely passionate about inspiring the future generations of females, celebrating the achievements of female role models and driving gender parity and gender equality.


Karrie LiuI am an applied mathematician who is growing up in two distinct family cultures (Chinese parents in Hong Kong and adopted English parents in UK), I experienced that girls weren’t encouraged in the same way that boys were. IWD can be a platform to show other that we can do equally great in the thing we love, no matter we are boys or girls, where we are form and what culture we are in.”



Solfrid Sagstad“For me, as a woman working within technology, innovation and management, International Women´s Day is an opportunity to truly remember and acknowledge the path that my sisters have created for me, and to remember that we all, no matter our gender, still need to strive for equality. Not because we are men or women, but because we all, as people, inhabit different strengths. It was encouraging to see that the UN Sustainable Development Goals make a point of highlighting female qualities as a significant foundation for a new area within business and leadership – this is really exciting for me.”


Nabila Salem“It’s a way to focus the discussion around how we can improve diversity and have better representation within the industries and sectors that need it the most. We should also celebrate the successes that women have had and be proud of what we have achieved so far. Without those trailblazers, there’d be nobody for future generations to follow or aspire to. When I think of the examples that I looked up to at the beginning of my career, it’s a nice reminder to make sure I do my bit to make sure the barriers get lower until they no longer exist. International Women’s Day is a timely reminder that while there’s still much to overcome, there’s plenty that we can also celebrate.”


Bridgit Hartland-JohnsonI grew up with strong role models like my dad and grandad, who really brought engineering to life for me. I remember having live fire protection experiments in our back garden and being given a doll’s house made from sheet metal that had electricity installed in it. It was this type of thing that inspired me to think about engineering as the sector for me, from a very young age. I’ve recently taken a new role in Ørsted UK as the Integrated Systems Innovation Manager and will be at the forefront of implementation for new ideas and possibilities when it comes to offshore wind. I’ve worked in many countries alongside women who are passionate about their roles but who often aren’t being considered for the right opportunities. That’s why I also co-chair Women in Ørsted in the UK, which is part of a network of over 400 women who want to make their mark in our industry. There are still so many issues that need resolving in order to help more women feel empowered in their positions at work, but I’m honoured to be surrounded by a strong female community within our company who embrace the challenge to fight for a better future.”


Natalie Moore“For me, International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to encourage all young women to be a little more ambitious and realise that there’s nothing that they can’t achieve.”




Megan Neale“Men and women must work together to change societal perceptions about women in business and entrepreneurship, which for years have struggled with gender parity. For me, a key driver is more equality in how people of all genders amend their daily working lives to accommodate childcare needs and busy family lives. Every business can play an important role in driving this change by offering flexibility in work at every level of the organisation and through the actions of the senior leadership. I would love all businesses to offer part-time roles as standard to everyone where the employee can choose what’s right for them regardless of gender. As a gig company, our experience tells us that quality and productivity increase significantly when people have the ability to work on their own terms.”


Louise Godfrey“IWD is hugely important to me in a world where, globally, women still earn more than a fifth less than men and is so much more than a ‘tick box exercise. I don’t care if your company employs women and some of them work part time – I care about whether your gender pay gap is under the national average and that women get the same opportunities to progress as men. I care that women are supported in returning to work after maternity leave and are involved in decision making processes, or that a website uses gender sensitive language and includes diverse imagery, rather than a selection of white men in suits. IWD is hugely inspiring when there is a clear message – and an aspiration to do something that really matters.”


Katrina NovakovicInternational Women’s Day allows us to recognise the achievements of women: the big victories and also the small ones we see in our day to day lives. It’s also about recognising the struggles that many women still face globally. It’s an opportunity to reinforce the message that each women is valued and to inspire women to keep going after their goals. We can achieve more by being part of a community, of women and male allies, collectively working together and supporting one other. Each man and woman working within business and technology, which is historically a male-dominated space, can play a part in making their environment more inclusive. What can you do today to have an impact?”


Dr Anne Whitehouse“International women’s day is so much more than an acknowledgement of the courage of past generations, it reminds just how much women still lack a power foundation in society, and it spurs us on to address discrimination, bias and attitude, wherever and whenever it prevents women from experiencing unconditional equality.”



Rupinder GarchaFor me, International Women’s Day is a reminder and a motivation to get to a place where I can be visible for the future generation of women looking to make an impact. It’s a real challenge to be what you can’t see. In the UK just 24 per cent of the STEM workforce are women, with the percentage of ethnic minority women being even smaller. My observation is that within the pharma-tech space there are but a handful of women of colour in senior leadership positions. A shift in workplace female empowerment means that a new pathway now exists for women of colour to pursue leadership roles – something I’ll be celebrating this International Women’s Day.”


Julie Purves“International Women’s Day makes me think both locally and globally about the need for gender equality. Here at B2M I’m very proud of the women we have working for us across the team, including those working in our software development team which is typically an area dominated by men. I am proud of the confidence they have to make their contributions and to work towards reaching their potential, which is one of our core aims at B2M. Thinking more globally and as a trustee of a local refugee charity, Marlow Refugee Action (https://marlowrefugeeaction.org.uk/), I am aware of the ~10 million women and girl refugees worldwide (UN General Assembly (2016). In safety and dignity: addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, Report of the Secretary-General.).Many of these women and girls are extremely vulnerable and face risks of exploitation and gender based violence. Women also often serve as the main caretakers for children and elderly family members, further deepening their need for protection and support. In a sense, it is even more important in these circumstances that women are given decision-making roles and the opportunity to include their needs and realities in policies and solutions to provide them with safety and sustainability. To many of them the opportunity to reach their potential feels like a million miles away. Within Marlow Refugee Action we are privileged to know women who have journeyed from the atrocities in Syria and have been able to settle and gain the necessary language skills to work as professionals in the UK. But this is just the tip of the iceberg and there is so much more to be done.”


Patricia Hume“International Women’s Day for me is about equality. An equal world is an enabled world so on this day, like on every other, we should remember that women need to enabled to be equal and one way of achieving that is to network and support each other. Networking is so important and we all need to do more of it; crossing boundaries, uniting interests, understanding cultures and building businesses. There is power in developing networks that empower and enable; 1+1 can equal 3. We have much to learn from each other and we can provide more value than we know with a simple connection.”


Emma Beaumont“For me IWD is a global recognition of the constant competing priorities that women all over the world are managing on a daily basis. Most of us fulfil many different roles simultaneously every day – daughter, wife, mother, sister, employee, colleague, mentor, boss, leader, listener, teacher, healer to name a few… and for the most part we make it look easy when it’s anything but. IWD is a celebration of everything women accomplish silently and brilliantly – because the ability to multi-task whilst making everyone around you feel equally important, is one of the most under-valued attributes in today’s modern world. For me, IWD also represents an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress we are making in supporting women in business. We’re still a long way from where we should be. There are now some truly amazing, and very visible role models that younger women can aspire to. And yet the Indra Nooyi’s and Ariana Huffington’s of the corporate world are all too few in my opinion. It’s changing yes – but slowly. My greatest wish for my son and daughters (and the thing I tell myself constantly when I’ve missed yet another school activity) is that they grow up believing they can do anything they set their minds to – and that their only inhibitors in life are themselves. Work hard at school, listen and learn hard in your early career and the world can be your oyster. Obviously we have a long way to go before the education, social and corporate systems allow for this – but I see positive inroads being made every day in the corporate world at least where more and more organisations are appointing women leaders to drive their companies forward. I also believe that we need to push forward on making work-life balance a reality for parents– this is especially important in male-dominated industries as many young women remain fearful that pursuing a career in these domains may come at the expense of their plans to raise a family without being overlooked for promotion or regarded negatively for trying to do both.”


Neta Meidav“With #EachForEqual equality is not a gender issue, it’s a business issue. With #EachForEqual as this year’s IWD theme, the message is very clear: we all have a responsibility to end discrimination, people and businesses alike.  International Women’s Day gets right to the heart of Vault Platform’s mission to ensure that people everywhere are treated with respect and without judgment or bias. (According to EY) it will take 170 years to eliminate unconscious bias. If we don’t do something, that’s entire lifetimes before we will see workplaces free from discrimination where all genders are treated equally. Due to the nature of what we do at Vault Platform, we speak to a lot of people who are on the front line when it comes to dealing with bias, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace and we hear some really distressing stories about people’s days to day reality. Yet most of these situations could be avoided by putting more effective and user-friendly methods of reporting and resolving incidents of discrimination in place. Unfortunately, legacy tools like hotlines are woefully outdated and in-fact do more damage in the long term because they actually contribute to the suppression of misconduct reporting. I’m a firm believer in using technology, not on its own, but as an enabler to rebuild trust between humans in situations where the balance of trust is not always equal – between employer and employee. This is the only way we can bring forward the elimination of unconscious bias to something we might experience in our lifetime.”


Bita Milanian“I actively celebrate International Women’s Day every year – it is a great moment in time, each Spring, to review progress in terms of equal pay, equal rights and equal representation in government. It is important to note that while progress is being made, women must continue to advocate for themselves, whether to ensure their right to control their own bodies, to insist on equal pay for equal work, and to reverse thousands of years of discrimination on a global scale; in 2020 these rights are once again under attack, so I expect this IWD to be even more dynamic and important than ever. We also cannot celebrate IWD without considering the role and future of girls. As a woman in technology I have personally had to work hard not to compete with men, but to engage with them in healthy conversations about the skills, talents and perspectives women bring to the industry, and the importance in supporting programs that open doors for girls who wish to code or otherwise innovate. With respect to girls’ rights, this year as part of my message on IWD, I will be writing about every girl’s right to life, health, freedom and education, including ending human trafficking, violence and other forms of discrimination against girls. Every girl and the woman they become deserves to live a life in freedom and with dignity. Finally, I believe it is as important for us to celebrate men and boys if we are to eventually solve for the “gender gap” and harmonise how women and men, girls and boys interact with each other in positive ways, with balance and with all due respect. I extend my gratitude to all the men in my life who have supported me fully, including my father, who lead us from Iran as refugees and immigrants, to eventually settle in the United States where women have access to opportunity and, even if they do not have equal rights today, can fight for those rights and ultimately win.  I also applaud all the women in my homeland Iran who are fighting against injustice against women, compulsory hijab and much more.  Women like them around the globe are true heroines and must be celebrated even more so on every IWD.”


Rachel King“Days such as International Women’s Day are a great initiative to celebrate women and the role they play in the world of work. In 2020, it should really go without saying that any small business that doesn’t appreciate the importance of women in the workplace is missing out. As well as doubling the size of talent pools, recruiting women into businesses has been proven to improve financial performance. Indeed, research has shown that the Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women on their boards outperform those with the lowest. Unfortunately, we’re still a long way from achieving gender parity, with women still paid less than their male colleagues in many cases. What’s more, there is still often a stigma around women returning to work from maternity leave. The first issue is an ongoing battle for campaigners, politicians, and employers, while the second requires a change of mindset, repositioning new mothers as a positive asset to their employers. Whilst there have been significant leaps forward in these areas, there is still so much work to be done. Investing in your people is always the foundation of business success. Just last year, only 27.8% of women were still in full-time work or self-employed three years after childbirth, according to the University of Bristol. But rather than worrying about a lack of motivation or commitment on their return, new mothers and employers alike should look at the new skills they’ve developed while away, and how this can only be better for business.”


Nina Ma“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in all areas. Looking back, it is really encouraging and empowering to see how far we have come over the years in regards to gender equality, but it is also important to recognise that we still have a long way to go. International Women’s Day is a chance for us to reflect on our past, evaluate where we are at now and understand how we can better move forward in the future. Personally, I am super passionate about Women in STEM and Women in Tech. These are areas in particular that we still have a lot of work to do to attract and retain more women. It is inspiring to see female role models in these industries and also a growing pipeline of new talents.”


Kenda Macdonald“For me it’s a time to reflect not only on how far we have come and those that have got us here, but also to plan for how we can continue to build a better future. I dedicated my book to all the women in my life, because I want us to take a moment to realise how powerful we can be when we drop our prejudices and preconceptions and work together. International Women’s day is a time to celebrate the women who have paved our way – the women that are creating our future now and the women growing up that will make the future we create a reality. We can only do that if we stop and think – give ourselves the time to adapt and change – especially if that means fighting for it. Today is time, use it.”


Aishling Finnegan“20 years ago when I started my career in technology, I genuinely believed that I needed to not promote the fact I was a mum. When opportunities came up for travel, promotion or working late, I know it was questioned as to whether I could do this with a child. I always felt I had to fight harder and sometimes it felt quite lonely. So, today, I love anything that provides a new perspective, supports and challenges this thinking. I still think businesses have changes to make, but days like International Women’s Day reminds women that they are not alone and should be proud of the role they play in work and at home. Hopefully it also makes the men think about the role they have to play to really change the culture in the business too.”


Lauren Stewart“As a young female, IWD always gives me an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the impact my mentors and colleagues have had on my career. It highlights those who are in fact making a difference to foster and encourage females in their career. Highlighting these personal relationships allow for others to see who are potential allies but also shows those individuals what a difference they can in fact make to an individuals life. It sort of brings much of the theory about promoting women to life and shows how others could do the same. Alongside great mentorship, I’d like to see the upcoming year filled with more advocacy. There is far more support available to women than there certainly was a few years ago but there is still work to be done and in order to really close the gap we need more people to stand-up and promote women, who may be different to their understanding of the ‘status quo’ – how things have always been done or what the usual profile has been.”


Shlomit Weiss“As a woman who leads one of the biggest R&D group in our company,  I believe in polite and caring leadership side by side with being strong, decisive and clear on direction and deliverables.  By this I am engaging and connecting people to their work and driving outstanding results. International Women’s Day is a special opportunity to increase attention and focus to drive more diversity, to learn and be inspired by different leadership types and aspects.”


Debbie Heald“As a woman in manufacturing and export, International Women’s Day to me is about equality. It’s about working together to achieve a common goal and we can’t do that on our own. We have a workforce that is roughly 50/50 split, which is unusual for a manufacturing environment, but without working together we would not achieve what we have done to date. More businesses need to embrace this level of diversity in order to be successful as its only when we come together we succeed.”


Puja Jha“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women who have broken stereotypes and changed perceptions. It is about recognising women who are challenging the society to create a gender equal world.”




Wendy Williamson“There’s no denying that the automotive aftermarket has always been traditionally male dominated. However, it’s exciting to see a growing shift in perception, which is thanks to a stronger focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the classroom, and an increase in inclusive industry initiatives throughout the supply chain. Over the past few years there have been a number of new opportunities emerging, resulting in an industry where diversity is definitely growing. For example, we’re seeing more female leaders than ever before helping to shape the sector at every level, from top-quality manufacturers, right through to a rise in female technicians out in the field. On International Women’s Day, we should honour the strong females in business who are actively breaking down barriers and driving change, as well as celebrating the progress that has been made from forward-thinking, determined professionals who are constantly striving for equality across the board.”


Victoria Cope“International Women’s day is a chance for us to celebrate the success and embrace our journey to achieving true equality within society. Never have there been more opportunities for Women to reach their full potential as professionals, academics, sports women, partners and parents. Equality is making progress in the right direction but theres still a long way to go to break perceptions & glass ceilings.”



Megan BramwellFor me International Women’s day holds two very different meanings. Most importantly, it celebrates the growth of equality within the engineering industry. However, it is a shame that a day like this needs to exist in order to promote this much needed equality. Getting into the engineering sector is hard as a woman and there is still a long way to go – but if you are determined and passionate, you can get there.



Caroline Vooght“Manufacturing leadership across the food industry has predominantly been male dominated and with the current appetite of an increased demand for flexible working, there is a distinct drop off of woman typically reaching middle management and then leaving to raise families. Over the years I’ve seen a shift in attitudes across my clients to embrace flexible working which has opened up opportunities for more women to progress to senior management and a more balanced leadership team at site level. This in turn attracts more women to the sector, where my clients are seeking candidates with strong leadership and technical skills. International Women’s Day embraces women with these skills to consider roles within food and FMCG manufacturing and not just ‘office-based’ positions.”


Elena Rodriguez-Falcon“As a female academic in engineering, I have had the responsibility in my previous and current roles to challenge gender stereotypes and face hurdles in this profession. We need to remember that every individual we encounter will have had different experiences; come from diverse backgrounds; have different sets of values, principles and beliefs and may not be aware that these can affect their interactions with others. As such, we all need to be prepared for what is a certainty, that people will perceive us and act based on their own experiences, not just ours. We will face hurdles that require us to manage those differences and tensions and it necessitates huge levels of empathy to understand where people may be coming from when they make assumptions about one’s capabilities or even experience.  And as importantly, courage and confidence are essential to overcome barriers and break glass ceilings. This doesn’t have to be a lonely venture though. Asking for help is a sign of self-awareness and strength and there are many mentors out there waiting to help, including myself.”


Roopa Bayar“International Women’s day to me is a recognition of all women who through their courage, determination and hard work have shattered barriers and inspired us to live out our dreams.”




Katy Corrigan“International women’s day is all about taking stock in where we’ve been – where we are – and where we want to go.  Like most, I want to see a balanced and thriving world, including the workplace and communities that I am a part of.  Today is a day where I look through the lens of being a woman – being 50% of the world’s population, yet only 30% of the fin tech work force – and being a group that has less than a third in retirement savings than men.  FinTech can be a tough industry for women. Women are often underrepresented in many firms, and that number falls dramatically as you look at higher ranking roles.  That being said, here at InvestCloud – we’ve blown by those numbers and are deliberate in our growth across several diversity dimensions, gender being one of them. In our firm, we see women succeeding and growing at all levels – including the c-suite and senior management. This balance is a pillar of our success. We create digital solutions that are empathetic to all of our thousands of users – men and women alike.”


Victoria Barber“International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to recognise and showcase the achievements of women who may not usually receive recognition. It is important to show girls what is possible and counteract some of the other influences they are subject to where most role models are male. For example, my dad always told me that I could do anything, as long as I learn how to do it. Thanks to him, it never occurred to me that my options in education or my career might be any different to those of my male peers. In my experience, if you are confident, credible and competent, your gender is irrelevant. But it can take time for anyone, including women, to build confidence in the workplace – imposter syndrome is not an exclusively female problem; we just acknowledge it more.”


Alexandra Poole“I’m fortunate enough to have some truly amazing women in my life, but it’s important to remember everyone needs support… sometimes even the most fabulous of females can be paddling like a duck underneath.”




Kleopatra Kivrakidou“I don’t believe technology is still considered to be more intriguing to men than women. If women do have a hesitation to work alongside technology, all they need is the encouragement to try it out. Depending on what domain of technology you focus on, you constantly have the feeling of offering something valuable to people: the means to advance their prosperity and productivity. Organisations also have the responsibility to attract more women, which I strongly believe is tied to the company’s culture. Working environments that build their success on respecting diversity, giving equal opportunities for growth to all, and who trust their workforce for who they are, become, by definition, the ones where you find more women. Innovation, which is a central goal in technology environments, comes more naturally when people with different views and angles come together.”


Agnes Schliebitz-Ponthus“It is important to showcase female successes and International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to remind and encourage women to consider a career in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sector. STEM is genderless – these subjects do not require physical strength, so men and women are at equal advantage. And yet they are often looked at as being harder for women. This often starts in primary school, where girls can feel social pressures from peers of their local community, to pursue other avenues, like humanities and arts. For those women who continue with STEM, later on at University or in early jobs, they can also feel lonely, threatened or abandoned when surrounded by only male peers. I personally remember being constantly worried and anxious in my student days and as a junior engineer, to either receive the wrong kind of attention or to have to double prove myself to my – almost always – male superiors and peers. While there are a lot of male advocates for women in STEM, it is also paramount that women are supported by role models of their own gender: inspirational women who can share their experiences and help guide others. Female mentorship is a great example of this support, the impact of which is measured in decades. Women sharing and helping one another within a nurturing and supportive environment has a whole host of benefits and should be more widely encouraged and practised.”


Nichole Sahin“International Women’s Day is about celebrating the achievements of women all around the world. There are many female role models that surround and inspire us everyday reminding us of everything that women can achieve. I was lucky to have grown up surrounded by strong female role models: my grandmother was the sixth woman in America to join the Navy during WW2, and my mum owned her own flower shop. Growing up, I never even considered the possibility that I was any less capable than a man, and early in my career, when I found myself the only woman in boardroom discussions, I learnt to speak up and be heard. Not that I haven’t faced challenges along the way. In my late twenties, I had an idea for a business model that would flatten barriers to global expansion. I took it to my former employer and was turned away. However, not letting this deter me, I quit my job and spent over a year travelling to 24 countries to lay the groundwork for what would become Globalization Partners. On return, I set up my business from a single laptop and worked hard to make it the half a million dollar business it is today – and still growing! My advice to women: Life brings many hurdles but learning to convert the setbacks into propellent to achieve your goals is the path to success. It’s important too that organisations are conscious of what the balance of a team looks like. Creating a diverse, inclusive culture will attract talent of all genders, sexualities, and ethnicities, in turn will result in a more collaborative, creative team. Let us not forget, there are great men, as well as women, championing gender equality. By celebrating women’s achievements, and the male allies and organisations that support them, we can work towards a better, fairer world.”


Samantha Nguyen“The technology industry is well known for its gender inbalance, and we all have a responsibility to encourage girls to consider technology for further education and as a long-term career path. For me, technology is always evolving and that is in part what drew me to the industry. Every day is different and I am always learning. There are so many opportunities, both from an entry-level perspective and in terms of skills training or career progression. There are so many inspirational female technology pioneers, like Grace Hopper and Meghan Smith, who are a daily inspiration for me.” 


Samina Subedar“As stated from the International Women’s Day committee website, it is important to remember, ‘Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.’ Having equality in an organization is an important cause, and one I see as critical for enabling a company to thrive. When you have intelligent people working collectively in an organization, regardless of gender, quality work and endless growth is the result. International Women’s Day serves a great purpose in celebrating women’s achievements, while also promoting equality for all. Individually, we are able to choose to participate in the collective fight against bias, open our minds to various perceptions, all with the common goal to better the world we live in today.”


Sheri Villers“Every business can, and should, play its part to promote and inspire women in STEM, because right now, there are simply not enough women taking jobs in these industries. Businesses are missing out because of this, as increasing the diversity of our workforce creates diversity of thoughts, strengths and skills which makes companies stronger, more agile, and more resilient. There are many ways we can challenge this lack of diversity, but one important objective to promote this International Women’s Day is getting businesses involved with creating opportunities for girls and young women to study STEM subjects. By developing knowledge and confidence in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and/or math from a young age, more girls will grow up with a passion for these subjects—leading to more women who will embrace jobs in these industries, thus bringing the diversity of thoughts and ideas that many businesses are missing.”


Donna Cooper“It’s amazing to consider how far women’s rights have advanced in the past century. Just over 100 years ago, women weren’t able to apply for a credit card or loan, work in a legal profession or even inherit property. Generation X women were the first women in their families to be able to go away to university, or to live on their own, launch a career and have the option to choose to stay home with their children. Despite the change in policies, there is still a fundamental issue that still needs to be addressed — the mindset that women don’t belong at the IT table. The technology field itself does not necessarily need to change. The gender-typical attitude that women have of themselves needs to be the roadblock that is addressed. This is hardly surprising when you consider the thousands of years of training and mentality that needs to be undone. We need to remind women that no matter how they feel, who they are and what unique values they bring to the technology table that they should be treated equally. It’s important that women trust their own mechanics when entering a role in the technology field, keep on learning and moving forward.”


Bethany Allee“The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day 2020 is #EachforEqual. The importance of gender equality in our economies and communities cannot be underestimated. One of the things that I actively campaign for is the need to close the gender pay gap. I think it’s pretty clear that the primary factor behind the wage gap is gender discrimination. Most of the other factors are related to this root issue. In the past few months, KPMG issued a report that cites “entrenched gender stereotypes” as having the most negative impact on the careers of women. It’s a complex issue to solve. But solve it we must. How? We must increase pay transparency and make the compensation discussion less taboo. Doing so will increase the willingness and ability of women to negotiate more effectively. The second-biggest pay gap driver is career interruption, according to the KPMG report I referred to earlier. Women are more likely to disrupt their career to care for young children and elderly relatives. We should promote and encourage family leave equality to give families the opportunity to make decisions without the boundaries of traditional gender roles. There’s no doubt the race is on to ensure gender equality throughout society. The great news is that we’re making good headway, but we’ve still got a way to go.”


Hugh Scantlebury“It’s been 100 years since women were permitted to be a part of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and it’s partly because of this that there has been a gradual increase, over the past 50 years or so, in the amount of women working within finance and technology-related roles. Although this is encouraging, the word of note is still ‘gradual’.  But with technology developing to become increasingly intuitive and automated, job descriptions will begin to change, and users will be free to focus more on solving business challenges rather than, for example, spending all day crunching numbers. I believe this will be the catalyst for the sea change we’ve been waiting for with regards to the number of women working in finance and technology. One example of technology that is enabling users to focus their time on adding value to business, rather than having people undertaking the ‘boring’ task of crunching numbers, are intelligent, cloud-based accounting platforms. This will surely attract more people to the sector – both male and female – regardless of whether they are qualified in STEM subjects or not.” 


Lauren Tubb“It’s important for women to support each other in the workplace because many believe that women have to excel to a higher degree than men to get the same recognition. Women in senior positions have a wonderful opportunity to help pull other women up and give them the confidence to secure a status in the workplace. Whether it’s nature or nurture, biology or social conditioning, women tend not to shout as loudly as men about their achievements, so it’s even more important that they have female role models who can empathise with that trait and who will encourage them to take pride in their achievements. I often speak to my daughter and her peers about the career opportunities in STEM open to women. In fact, I have encouraged many of my female friends to consider joining Civica and think about a technology career as a possible route for them. I think mentoring is a great way to guide, motivate, and inspire other women. We have the tendency to put ourselves down and to not believe in our capabilities. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing mentor at Civica who has given me her time, words of encouragement, and taught me new skills, which have allowed me to grow in my role and as a person.”


Lisa Entwistle-Gray“I have noticed over the years that as women, we tend to underestimate ourselves. We’re more likely to shy away from a new role or challenge because we think we might fail, or we are reluctant to try because we think someone else might do it better. In my team, we encourage each other by making sure that passion and drive come first, and mastering the job comes second. We might not know how to do everything across a new role or in the early stage of our careers, but that’s part of the fun of taking on a new challenge.”


Sanam Majeed“In a world where women are fighting for gender equality in the workplace and beyond, it is important to start by openly supporting and encouraging other women to do well. We can create gender balanced workplaces by encouraging women to attend training courses and re-evaluating job specifications to make sure they appeal to everyone. We should also offer flexible working to encourage a better work/life balance for working mothers, and make sure female mentors and coaches are easily accessible to help women facing professional challenges or important decisions. Being a consultant and a mother to young children is a challenge, but thanks to Civica’s flexible working policies, I’ve managed to achieve a good work/life balance without letting either slip. I’d recommend a career in technology to all my friends and family. It is the fastest-growing industry in the world, so it’s an exciting time to join. The more women that start to move into STEM roles, the faster we can change the gender balance across senior roles within the sector. I use my achievements such as attending the Civica awards, attending women in tech events, and helping integrate business units, as visual stories across my social platform to inspire more women to pursue a career in technology. Only through leading by example and becoming advocates for other women, will we be able to change the status quo and create lasting and meaningful change.”


Kate Hilyard“It is widely accepted that there are gender differences in how job adverts are perceived and engaged with. For example, research shows that women will only apply to jobs when they meet 100% of the role specifications, whereas men apply when they cover only 60%. This imbalance can be addressed by carefully selecting the language used in job descriptions, to make it more neutral and inspire women to apply for jobs they may have sidestepped previously. Similarly, the candidate selection and interview process requires thorough consideration and planning, to ensure it is inclusive and unbiased. Whilst everyone is susceptible to unconscious bias, becoming self aware of such biases allows businesses to improve their processes and be open to different ideas and feedback. It is really important to us at Healx, in the fast-developing field of AI technology in drug discovery and development, that we attract the best talent by being as inclusive as possible.”


Katalin Adorján“To this day, the technology industry is widely associated with masculinity. For example, job titles in role advertisements very commonly use the words “ninja, rockstar, guru”, and such masculine connotations unconsciously belittle women and contribute to this adversity. With International Women’s Day approaching, it is especially important to encourage diversity. I believe as women in tech, we have a great responsibility for the future women in this industry. I learned a lot from fellow women who reached out to me early in my career – you never know if your story could inspire, encourage or help someone. I hope that, as we all work on becoming more inclusive, the gender distribution in engineering, data and product management specifically will be more balanced in the future. Initiatives such as OneStepCloser by Amnesty International really help organizations to embrace inclusivity; at Prezi we recently signed up and we are about to launch our Prezi Women mentorship program which will aid women in finding greater support in the workplace.”


Julie Cullivan“Women in technology has become a big focus in the industry and it’s amazing to see so many organisations championing employee diversity as a top priority. Over the past few years there seems to be much more recognition and conversation around what can be done to make jobs more accessible to women and minorities. After all, a diverse workforce can build business success when accessing a wider range of ideas and experiences to hear and learn from. As a woman in tech myself, we need to set examples, be role models for the new generation by sharing our stories and experiences. A key part of that guidance – which can be a tough thing to adopt – is the willingness to take risks. It’s ok to be uncomfortable in a new role, because that is how it is supposed to be. No one ever goes through their career without making any mistakes but it is those who can learn from them and grow are the ones who will succeed.”


Kate Chkhiadze“While at times it can seem like a barrier, gender should never stop anyone pursuing a job role. I have always been passionate about maths and I wasn’t going to be put off by its traditionally male connotations. I went on to pursue it as a degree and ninety per cent of my peers were male. How did I deal with the imbalance? By constantly performing in the top five per cent. I went on to work in the similarly male-dominated environment of date science but my persistence to succeed kept me undeterred. Being part of my current team is the most fulfilling part of my career to date. I come to work every day knowing I’m making a difference and am surrounded by the smartest women and men. We are trying to help tackle a global climate emergency, which is one of the most pressing issues of our generation. Far from gender being a factor of our work, it’s about believing in the mission to manage the impact of climate volatility for our planet. Having first-hand experience of quitting a full-time job to complete a PhD in mathematical modelling, my advice would always be that anyone can succeed if they fully apply themselves. I wouldn’t be in my dream role if I hadn’t. It is so important for all women trying to, or thinking about getting into tech not to underestimate themselves and for companies to embrace their talent.”


Ellena Duffy“My favourite aspect of IWD is the encouragement of storytelling and listening. It’s a day which is dedicated to hear from women, to celebrate their successes and learn about their pains. When done well, it can be great in tackling Imposter Syndrome, as the only qualification is the individual’s willingness to explain their own experiences. These insights are always incredibly valuable. For me, the road to equality stems from the battle for equity. There needs to be equity in the space and time available for a true representation of the population to be seen and heard, all year round, not just one day. Not only for all genders but all races, nationalities, ethnicities, ages, religions, abilities, classes, and sexual orientations. Equality will therefore be the recognition that all these contributions are equally as important. I’m hopeful we may one day see this.


Neira Hajro“I’m regularly the only woman in the room – and I don’t doubt that I still will be for several years to come. That brings a lot of attention but also opportunities to make our voice heard. As a woman who has always worked in the tech industry, I can confidently say that there are still differences in both how men and women in the sector think – and in how we are perceived. But, change is on the horizon, more organisations are setting hard targets for the number of women at all levels including Boards, and we all, men and women, have a role to play in sponsoring and empowering our female talent. One of the most recent experiences of this change for me was becoming a mother. There’s still a perception that a woman’s career ends the day she becomes a mother – and consequently, you can either have a successful career, or be a brilliant Mum. I disagree. With the right support base, at home and work, it is possible to do both and we should have the confidence to ask for both. I was lucky enough to work in multiple organisations and with managers who believed in me and in women more generally, understanding that missing out on this 50% of the population would create a less effective work environment and that we’d miss out on 50% of the ideas. This filled me with the confidence I needed to juggle both sets of responsibilities and allowed me to build a working schedule that enabled my success. This International Women’s Day, let’s recognise that we all need sponsors. Having a strong support base will allow each and every one of us to thrive in the workplace if our skills, and contributions are recognised and valued. What’s important, is that those sponsors come from both men and women in leadership roles. You don’t need to be a woman to sponsor one. Businesses need to show employees that they are supported through all the key moments. Be it transitioning into a new role, going on maternity leave or coming back from one, or juggling both a busy family and work life. A great way to do this is by developing a forum that gives everyone across the business a voice. My teams have regular check-ins where we discuss what each of us needs at the beginning of each project, and we visit those needs and norms throughout to ensure we are supporting each person and providing them the environment where they can be their best. We at McKinsey support women and diversity in multiple ways; we have done and published research showing that companies with more equal share of women outperform their less diverse peers. We regularly participate and host events which provide women with networking and mentorship opportunities. Within McKinsey, we have instituted “ramp-up/ramp-down” mechanisms to give everyone an opportunity to create their own McKinsey and make sure it works for their own personal circumstances. We remain passionate and committed about seeing more women in businesses at every level.”


Federica Bowman“The last few years has seen heightened media attention on equality for women, in the workplace but also in education and community where disparity has continued to be an issue. International Women’s Day for me is a day of reflection, to consider how far we have come and how far we still have to go to ensure women continue to be championed and supported. It’s fantastic to have a day dedicated to highlighting the challenges and successes, however what’s important is that this day doesn’t become the highlight of the year for women’s equality – that we continue to support, mentor and applaud women every day, even when the media isn’t as focused on the topic.


Seema Khinda Johnson“Ultimately, we must champion women across all sectors. To me, International Women’s Day is about building your own community of women that you can actually share with, learn from, and connect with.”




Mansata Kurang“International Women’s Day for me is about taking personal responsibility of how powerful and impactful we are as women, irrespective of borders. With social media, our impact can be far and wide, so I call upon all women to be Queens and SHeros to step up and show up in leadership and influence to help make our world a better tomorrow. I am unapologetically Black, Muslim, Female, Smart and that is my superpower! History has shown time and time again that there is no ceiling to smash; if you believe that only the sky is the limit, then the impossible becomes possible. Shoot for it!”


Lorna Bennet“To me International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the success and achievements of women all over the world. It is important to show that anything is possible, to inspire young women and girls to follow their dreams.”



Colleen Wong“When women are put in the spotlight to share their experiences, both good and bad, they will always inspire other women because our paths are all unique. This is what International Women’s Day means to me.”




Rachel Clancy“My birthday is March 8th, so it’s a double day for thinking about my own progress and battles I’ve faced as a woman, and the progress and battles still left to fight for gender equality. It’s a day to celebrate inspirational women past and present, and to ask ourselves what still needs to be done to dismantle institutional sexism and challenge misogyny, both from the outside and from the self-defeating narratives we’ve internalised about ourselves. It took me a long time to filter out the guilt and inferiority I had absorbed as a young woman, but I’ve come out the other side with an unshakeable sense of my own strength and worth. I feel this way, not in spite of, but because I’m a woman.”


Olga Kravchenko“International Women’s Day to me is an opportunity to celebrate women who have been leading the change against gender inequality, highlighting the strength of womanhood. It is a day to reflect on the change that has been achieved thanks to their brave and courageous minds and actions as well as inspire to continue this change today, not settling for anything less but true equality.”



Rebecca Saw“I love the opportunity for people of all genders to recognise the achievements of women. I look forward to being inspired by some of the groundbreaking innovations and exciting work that is happening across the world.”