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

In the first in our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important tech news stories of 2020.

While this year has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has still seen Sheridan Ash, June Angelides & Carrie Anne Philbin recognised on Queen’s Birthday Honours List; the loss of Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician and inspiration for the Hollywood film, Hidden Figures; a celebration of a million women in STEM; and some great initiatives to help women in tech.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2021!

Tribeni ChouguleJanuary

In January, we caught up with one of our TechWomen100 alumni – Tribeni Chougule. Tribeni won her award in 2018.

Tribeni started her career as a Graduate Trainee Engineer in Tata Technologies, Pune, India where she was trained as an SAP Technical Consultant.

She enjoyed programming and was able to land a new job on the basis of her 4.5 months of strong technical expertise into India’s top 3 IT companies –Wipro. In her 11 years career in Wipro, Tribeni’ s roles graduated from Technical Consultant to Technical Lead to Project Lead to Project Manager and Program Manager and she also moved permanently from India to UK. Tribeni then joined Infosys where she project managed their first SAP Global Trade Management implementation for a procurement division of one of the largest telecom companies. In 2013, Tribeni joined Visa as Technical Project Manager and transformed internal IT teams from waterfall to agile model of delivery and enabled the various teams to work in the digital propositions of the organisation. This included training design and implementation, tools and process change and being an Agile coach to Scrum Masters as well as to Scrum Teams. After undertaking various  key and complex programmes and projects during the and post-merger of Visa Europe and Visa Inc, Tribeni headed the Technology team in the London Innovation Centre. Tribeni is currently the Head of Change Management in Finance Europe.

Tribeni is also the co-chair of  Visa’s Women in Technology Europe network, Enactus Business Advisor and a Cherie Blair foundation women in business mentor. She is pursuing her executive MBA from WBS, London.

Katherine Johnson featuredFebruary

February sadly saw the loss of NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson.

Johnson, who was one of the inspirations for the Hollywood film, Hidden Figures, sadly died on 25th February, aged 101.

The pioneering African-American mathematician’s calculations were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed space flights. Johnson’s work also helped break down many of the social and racial barriers at the time.

Johnson was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1953 and worked in the racially segregated computing unit until 1958, when NACA became NASA. In the same year, Johnson joined Project Mercury, the US’s first human space program, as one of the ‘computers’ who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand.


March saw the rapid advancement of Coronavirus, with the whole country put into lockdown on 23rd March.

As a result of this, we asked our members for help in supporting great initiatives like FutureDotNow’s campaign to support the most vulnerable online during COVID-19; and The Royal Academy of Engineering’s call for engineers to help boost the supply of ventilators and ventilator components.

young Asian woman looking at laptop, watchin a webinarApril

In April, we reported that J.P. Morgan had joined forces with Finding Ada to offer free mentorship for 50 women in technology in the UK.

The scheme paired mentees from across the UK with women in technical roles within J.P. Morgan. Mentors are available from various levels across the company, from junior software developers to senior tech leaders.

Mentoring has many proven benefits, including helping mentees to improve their soft skills, confidence and communication skills, as well as making them, on average, five times more likely to receive a promotion compared to non-mentees.

WISE 1 Million Women in STEMMay

In May, we celebrated WISE’s campaign to showcase one million women in STEM.

WISE had been working towards the goal of one million women in STEM for the past five years. Thanks to the focused efforts of role models, organisations and champions of gender balance in STEM, this number has finally been achieved.

WISE invited you to celebrate and take part in their newly launched 1 of the Million campaign – an inclusive, digital campaign that aims to inspire and celebrate the real faces behind the million women in STEM.

The 1 of the Million Campaign encourages women working in STEM to share their story – and those of their friends, mentors or colleagues – in order to celebrate the brilliant contributions women make through science, technology, engineering and maths.By putting a face to the million, the campaign aims to inspire more women to pursue, return to, or retrain in STEM.

Two Female College Students Building Machine In Science Robotics Or Engineering ClassJune

June saw the celebration of International Women in Engineering Day!

International Women in Engineering Day is an annual event that showcases the incredible work of female engineers and it aims to encourage more people to think of engineering as a profession for all.

Currently, there is a considerable lack of female representation in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry – with women making up just 12.37 per cent of all engineers in the UK, the lowest numbers of any country in Europe.

For young girls, whose future choices are heavily influenced by today’s experiences, lack of visible female representation fuels the misconception that engineering is a career for men wearing high-vis jackets. Whilst people are now more comfortable questioning gender bias in the industry, diversity now being a recognisable issue, there is still a long way to go before gender parity is achieved.

WeAreTechWomen spoke to six female STEM experts to learn about their own career experiences in the engineering industry, and advice for how best to #ShapeTheWorld.

teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber securityJuly

In July, it was reported that women in cybersecurity are paid 21 per cent less than men.

Despite more women working in cybersecurity, the research, Cybersecurity Workforce Study, conducted by (ISC)², found that women are paid, on average, 21 per cent less than their male counterparts globally.

The average salary for female cybersecurity employees in North America is just under $80,000, versus an average of around $96,500 for men. In Europe, the average salary for women is about $40,500 compared to $67,000 for men.

More women than men (22 per cent vs. 13 per cent) cited discrimination as a challenge they’ve experienced during their career. However, in other areas, such as “unclear career path opportunities,” “lack of available cybersecurity positions” and “cost of cybersecurity certifications,” men and women respondents were never more than five percentage points apart.

The study did find some positives for women in cybersecurity. The research found that higher percentages of women in cybersecurity already planned to work in the field even before starting in the profession – and that interest in pursuing cybersecurity education is substantially higher among women under the age of 45. 68 per cent of women in cybersecurity polled by (ISC)2 also said they plan to stay in the field for the remainder of their careers.

stylish woman working from home, style tips, flexible workingAugust

August offered a positive month, with 51 per cent of tech employees saying working from home has improved their work-life balance.

The report, from Culture Shift, found that the events of recent months have positively impacted the culture of Britain’s technology industry, with 39 per cent saying it has actively improved since they transitioned to working from home.

As half of the UK’s workforce transitioned to remote working earlier this year, organisations were thrust into the spotlight with many standing by to see if they were able to make the transition seamlessly without detrimental impact on their culture. The same report also uncovered that 34 per cent of employees in tech said working from home has had a positive effect on their mental health, while 30 per cent said sentiment towards their job has been positively impacted and 33 per cent confirmed their relationship with their boss/employer has improved since they started working from home.

It was also reported that virtual events could be a step in achieving greater inclusivity for women in tech if biased features maintained by in-person conferences are eliminated, according to new data.

Ensono, a leading hybrid IT services provider, today released the findings of its second annual research report, “Speak Up: Redesigning Tech Conferences With Women in Mind.

As digital events have become the new normal due to the impact of COVID-19, the report signals how virtual conferences can provide a stepping stone for women to achieve gender parity in the tech industry if biased conference amenities are eliminated. For women of colour, this disparity is even greater, and companies are responsible for diversity and inclusion efforts that challenge routine procedure.

The report found that 71 per cent of women who have given a keynote said conferences are not designed with women in mind. The report also found that on average, women of colour only make up eight per cent of keynote speakers at tech conferences over the last three years. 61 per cent of the women surveyed said their company is more likely to send a man to a tech conference than a woman.

Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE & Sheila Flavell CBE, European Tech Women AwardsSeptember

September saw Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and Sheila Flavell CBE win a European Tech Women Awards.

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) announced the winners of the first edition of the European Tech Women Awards that took place virtually during London Tech Week.

The event recognised the accomplishments of 24 women from 12 countries who delivered revolutionary projects in the UK and Europe and celebrated UK’s diversity, openness and willingness to champion female leaders.

Imafidon and Flavell both won a Career Recognition Award, while TechWomen100 alumni, Amanda Heslop from Rolls Royce won a STEM Pathway Award

September also saw Victoria McKay appointed as CEO of #techmums to help reach more digitally excluded mums in post COVID-19 age.

McKay founded and ran the Women’s Jewellery Network, a global community of women in the jewellery industry. She was also Chief Operating Officer of the highly respected, London Diamond Bourse.  Victoria also serves as Clerk to The Worshipful Company of Lightmongers.

Victoria succeeds Lauren Allison, who served as CEO of #techmums since 2019. Lauren successfully transformed #techmums into the organisation it is today, launching popular national clubs and launching a new online offer.

Professor Dorothy Monekosso 1October

In October, a barrier-breaking computer science professor was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute for IT.

The UK’s only black (Afro-Caribbean) female professor of Computer Science, Dorothy Monekosso, has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Professor Monekosso, of Leeds Beckett University, received the honour for her work on Smart Homes for people living with dementia and for her campaigning work to promote diversity in the tech sector. Her pioneering research also includes developing artificial intelligence for spacecraft.

Professor Monekosso will join innovators like Margaret Ross OBE, Emeritus Professor of Software Quality at Southampton Solent University (2007) and World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee (2000) on the professional body for IT’s roll of Honorary Fellows.

Also in October, Sheridan Ash, June Angelides & Carrie Anne Philbin were amongst women in tech recognised on Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Sheridan Ash, founder of TechSheCan was awarded an MBE for services to Young Girls and Women through Technology particularly during COVID-19; June Angelides, VC at Samos Investments, Entrepreneur, Advisor, Speaker, Writer, was awarded an MBE for her services to Women in Technology; and Carrie Anne Philbin, Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation, was awarded an MBE for her services to Education.

Also recognised on this year’s Honours List was Sarah-Jane Mintey, Founder and chief executive Officer, Developing Experts, who was awarded an MBE for services to Technology and Education during Covid-19. Elizabeth Vega, Group Chief Executive Officer, Informed Solutions, was awarded an OBE for services to International Trade and Digital Transformation, while Rioch Edwards-Brown, Founder, So You Wanna Be in TV’, was awarded an OBE for services to the Television, Technology and Creative Sectors

This year’s Honours List was dominated by frontline workers and community champions for their continuing work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare and social care workers make up 14 per cent of the List, for contributions as diverse as setting up the COVID-19 hospitals to delivering medical care on the frontline.

woman working from home in bed, IT professionalNovember

In November it was reported that 31 per cent of IT and information research professionals are working in fear, scared of making a mistake at work

The nationwide poll, commissioned by Feel Good Contacts revealed some of the many concerns faced by people working in this industry.

The study of 2,000 UK workers, conducted by OnePoll, highlighted issues related to communications. Despite almost six months of Zoom meetings, a quarter of IT and information research employees are still uncomfortable with being on a video call, seeing and hearing themselves on screen and being in a virtual room full of people staring at their face. A total of 23 per cent don’t want to talk on the phone and would rather send an email.

In a climate of uncertainty, where IT and information research professionals are feeling on edge as we enter a second lockdown, 20 per cent are anxious about working with difficult colleagues. But it’s not just internal relations that are a concern, 19 per cent are nervous about dealing with antagonistic client and customers.

Not surprisingly, 30 per cent of respondents are scared about losing their job as the UK plunges into economic recession for the first time in 11 years. With such worries, it’s understandable that just under one sixth of respondents are too nervous to ask for extra support with a heavy workload and 18 per cent are anxious about seeking help with a difficult task. One fifth said that in the current climate, they would dread facing their boss in a performance review and a further fifth said that they would be too nervous to ask for a pay rise. Finally, 21 per cent are worried about being expected to work out of hours.