woman reading the news on her phone

Continuing on our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important tech news stories of 2019.

This year has seen many organisations call for more women in tech and STEM; WeAreTechWomen became its own dedicated site in 2019; and we shined a spotlight on a further 100 amazing women in tech.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest tech news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2020!

January

January started with a bang at WeAreTechWomen, with the celebration of our 2018 TechWomen100 Award winners.

On the 31 January, WeAreTechWomen celebrated the winners of their TechWomen100 awards, at a prestigious ceremony at etc. venues, County Hall, London.

Winners, sponsors, judges and guests celebrated and enjoyed a three-course meal and champagne reception to toast the TechWomen100 finalists’ achievements. The evening was facilitated by Kate Russell, Journalist, Author and Tech Reporter, BBC Click and attendees were welcomed by Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director, WeAreTheCity, and sponsors, Christina Hamilton, Senior Vice President Commercial Development UK & Europe, Worldpay.

WISE campaign featuredFebruary

In February, WISE called on the industry to inspire girls to choose STEM roles.

WISE, the campaign to improve gender balance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), launched a new online game called My Skills My Life, and called on industry to help change the way girls see STEM subjects and how they relate to careers that make a difference to the world.

The call came in response to research showing serious gaps in STEM roles; a survey of HR Directors suggested there is a shortage of 173,400 STEM workers across the UK, costing the economy £1.5bn each year.

Also in February, we asked our readers whether they could be the next Sky Women in Tech Scholar! Sky were on the hunt for five inspirational women to become their 2019 Sky Women in Technology Scholars.

Following the extraordinary success of the first Women in Tech Scholars programme, Sky expanded the scheme for a second time. In addition to winning a £25,000 bursary, the Women in Tech Scholars were paired with an expert mentor in their chosen field. Over the course of the one-year scheme, their mentor will be on hand to provide technical support as well as access to a network of business contacts to develop and nurture the talented entrepreneurs.

WeAreTechWomen logo featuredApril

April was a busy time at WeAreTechWomen HQ – we launched our brand new, dedicated, women in tech website, WeAreTechWomen.com. WeAreTechWomen.com aims to provide visibility of resources for women working in technology who wish to progress their careers and achieve their true potential.

We also announced our 2019 WeAreTechWomen – The Future World of Work conference. This conference was aimed at women working in the tech sector who are looking to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their technology networks. The theme for this year’s conference was The Future World of Work and how innovation and disruption is driving change within the tech industry.

Our aim was to inspire attendees by delivering bitesize learning sessions for our audience. With the help of our amazing speakers and panellists, we provided the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a broad range of technology topics as well as interact through panels, hands-on activities and workshops.

May

In May, it was reported that the UK remains a ‘hot bed’ for tech talent.

The research, conducted by Tech Nation, found that the UK is in front of Japan, France and Indonesia when it comes to employing high-growth tech workers.

In the UK, Insurtech and Fintech were the biggest employers among high-growth digital tech firms in 2018, employing 24 per cent and 18 per cent of the high-growth workforce respectively.

Cyber, AI, and Cleantech all feature in the top ten sectors for employment in high-growth tech firms. Investment data shows that AI, Cyber and Big Data are growing in importance for UK tech scaleups. This means that the UK may be about to see more jobs generated in these sectors.

Female EngineerJune

In June, the government called for more women to think about a career in engineering, highlighting them as ‘an absolute necessity’ for the future of transport.

Women currently represent just 12 per cent of the engineering workforce and 18 per cent of the transport sector workforce. Hiring more women is essential for the delivery of major transport infrastructure projects like HS2 and Heathrow expansion.

It is estimated that by 2033 there will be a combined shortfall of around 341,000 jobs in the sector.

The call followed the convening of a roundtable on women in transport this week by the Department for Transport’s Permanent Secretary Bernadette Kelly, attended by senior female leaders in the sector. Representatives from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Ford, Heathrow Airport, Network Rail, the Women in Maritime Taskforce, and Virgin Atlantic were present.

June also saw the Ministry of Defence appoint its first female Chief Scientific Adviser – Professor Dame Angela McLean.

McLean is the first female to hold the role and joins the Department as a distinguished academic with a commitment to science-driven policy. The MOD’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) oversees the Department’s core research programme, leads technology strategy, and works closely with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop battle-winning capabilities.

TechWomen100 2019 featuredAugust

In August, we opened nominations for our 2019 TechWomen100 Awards.

Our awards focus solely on women working in tech below director level. We hope that by highlighting the accolades of up-and-coming inspirational female tech talent, we can help to create a new generation of female role models for the industry, and a pipeline of future leaders.

Through the awards, we also recognise a number of senior individuals who are championing up-and-coming women, as well as any organisations that have designed and implemented successful initiatives and programmes in order to attract, retain and develop the female tech talent.

Finally, we applaud the often-voluntary efforts of the women in tech networks that operate across the UK, and again would like to formerly recognise these within our awards.

The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way.

September

September saw ‘Amazon Future Engineer’ launch in the UK to help children and young adults from low-income backgrounds build careers in Computer Science.

The UK needs an additional 38,000 workers with computer science-related skills, including 21,000 computer science graduates, to meet labour demands every year – or the economy could lose out on an estimated £33 billion a year by 2030, according to research by Capital Economics.

To help close that gap, Amazon launched Amazon Future Engineer in the UK – a comprehensive childhood-to-career programme to inspire, educate, and enable children and young adults to try computer science. By supporting the recruitment and training of 50 secondary school computer science teachers and over 200 ‘Careers Leaders’, launching robotics workshops for 10,000 children and creating other opportunities to experience computer science, Amazon Future Engineer is set to reach more than one million children and young people across the UK over the next two years.

InnovateHer featuredOctober

In October, InnovateHer teamed up with Sony to bring its eight week technology programme for teenage girls to more locations across the country.

The Digital Bootcamp programme aims to give girls aged between 12-16 valuable tech and interpersonal skills, whilst encouraging them to consider STEM subjects and careers in tech.

Unfortunately, current statistics show that girls make up only 20% of computer science entries at GCSE, and just ten per cent at A-level, with nine times more boys than girls gaining an A level in Computer Science this year. InnovateHer, whose mission is “to get girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls”, has promised to tackle these figures by working with schools to reach over 1,000 girls by 2020.

The after school programme will teach girls technical skills, build confidence, and highlight local opportunities within the tech and digital industries. The collaboration with PlayStation has allowed InnovateHer to extend the programme to new locations, including Guildford and London.

The bootcamp is set to launch in selected schools in January 2020, and graduates of the programme will have the opportunity to showcase the work they have produced at next year’s Develop conference in Brighton.

November

Monster Confidence Bootcamp launched in London in November, with the hope of boosting STEM confidence in girls.

Jobs site, Monster.co.uk, and social enterprise, Stemettes, took Monster Confidence on the road to show the next generation that girls do Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) too, and give them the tools and confidence needed to secure a job.

Since launching the events in 2016, over 2,000 young women have attended to receive encouragement and guidance from industry experts on how to pursue careers and qualifications of their dreams within STEM fields. Monster Confidence will be hosting two further events this year across the UK where unemployment and is at its highest and social mobility at its lowest – Teesside and Peterborough.

Winners Banner with logo featuredDecember

In December, we announced our winners of the 2019 TechWomen100 Awards.

The winners of these awards showcase remarkable women within the technology and STEM sector including Alicia Carolina Beylan Navarrete, a Backend Software Engineer at Deliveroo who was recently awarded an exceptional talent visa sponsored by TechNation; Moriah Baxevane-Connell, a Cloud Consultant at Google, who works with customers across Europe to optimise their usage of Google Cloud Platform; Emma Lindley, an advisor and author on digital identity, and is also co-founder of Women in Identity, a not-for-profit organisation focused on developing talent and diversity in the identity industry; and Eva Meyer de Stadelhofen, Founder of GirlCode, an international non-profit and network which aims to reduce the gender gap in the STEM industry by teaching girls of age 8-17 how to code.