Business inequality, gender gap vector concept with man at advantage. Symbol of discrimination, different opportunity, unequal treatment. salary. Eps10 illustration.

Bridge over unequal water: Closing the gender gap in the IT industry

Business inequality, gender gap vector concept with man at advantage. Symbol of discrimination, different opportunity, unequal treatment. salary. Eps10 illustration.

By Paola Cannone, Senior Director, International Marketing at Commvault

The lack of women in the technology industry is a topical issue that is well-known and regularly discussed.

Whilst there are a number of national awareness days – in the last few months alone, we have celebrated Women in Engineering Day, International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and the overarching International Women’s Day – the stark reality is that progress in closing the gender gap remains slow. Positive initiatives like these do engage organisations and gain media attention, but the circumstances are not changing at a rapid enough rate. In fact, in June 2022, it was reported that women face a 100-year wait for the gender pay gap to be closed.

According to a global compensation report (BCI’s 2022 Global Business Continuity Management Compensation Report), only a third of the industry’s employees are female. These women earn an average of 7% less than their male counterparts and are less likely to earn any financial bonuses – whilst 40% of men received a bonus of 15% or more, only 25% of female employees received the same reward.

Although differences in the gender gap are widely acknowledged, arguably there is too much complacency – this needs to change and action must be taken. A broad and systematic approach is needed to achieve change on an international level.

Back to basics

In the world of technology, the low presence of women arguably has its roots in education. The number of girls studying science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subjects remains much lower compared to boys. Despite the 21st century proving a progressive time in many aspects, gender stereotypes within education remain a significant obstacle to encouraging more girls to engage with and study STEM subjects. Old established patterns undeniably play their part – girls are far more likely to study creative subjects, such as Art or English, whilst boys dominate Science and Maths classrooms.

In order to combat this inequality, schools and teachers have a huge role to play in removing stereotypes. Opening girls’ eyes to the opportunities that lie in the science and technology fields at an early age will help transform their career goals. It is essential for girls to feel empowered and inspired about choosing the more male-dominated fields.

This is the first and crucial step in closing the gender gap within male-dominated industries. Although it will be a very gradual process, sustained investment is crucial to success – we should not give up when change is not immediately evident. It will be worth it as, ultimately, greater gender equality at school level will encourage a better balance in the world of work.

Don’t let it slip

Although partially down to the education system, businesses also have an important role to play in closing the gender gap at school level. Businesses can foster great relationships with educational institutions by visiting local schools, giving talks to the students, and providing work experience opportunities that open young people’s eyes to the possibilities of the industry. Having female employees visit these schools, rather than a fully male team, will show young girls that they can prosper in the sector.

However, the work to encourage and support women must not end once they have left school – it is just as important once they have entered the workforce, especially since those that make it into the technology industry are 45% more likely than men to eventually leave and pursue an alternative career path.

Too often such initiatives to promote equality and inclusivity are pushed aside due to lack of time or resources to ensure their successful implementation. But crucially, such action does not have to be disruptive or radical. Some of the simplest measures can have the biggest impact.

Here are my top tips for making the workplace an inclusive and supportive environment for female colleagues:

  1. Role models – it is important to enforce a culture and a business environment where women can excel, progress, and reach the top of the ladder. By having women in senior positions, girls starting their careers have someone to look up to and can aspire to follow in their footsteps.
  2. Flexibility – particularly important in the ‘new normal’ of the hybrid working world, offering flexible working is a key aspect of retaining female colleagues and making women feel supported at work. Too often the responsibilities of childcare and other domestic duties fall to women. Whilst that is another issue in itself, offering flexibility provides a balance between their responsibilities inside and out of work.
  3. Initiatives – an additional step that all organisations can take is to introduce initiatives or schemes that support their female employees. Actively promoting and supporting the national awareness days that aim to encourage more women into the industry will show your female employees that they are valued and supported. In addition, establishing groups for women in the company that allow them to come together can be very empowering.

Final thoughts

It is a commonly discussed topic, but the issue of gender inequality can never be revisited enough. As a starting point, managers must not be afraid to mix up teams and add flexibility to the average working day. It is too easy to get caught up in the politics of it all, but we mustn’t lose sight of the ultimate goal and the reason we are trying to achieve it. After all, those businesses with a diverse workforce are proven to be the highest performing, most innovative, and have the best financial results.

Paola CannoneAbout the author

Paola Cannone is Senior Director, International Marketing at Commvault, and has worked at the company for one year. Prior to this role, she spent time working at FireEye, Symantec, and Veritas. She is responsible for driving the International marketing strategy and tactical execution across demand generation and field and channel marketing, supporting the business in achieving its revenue goals.

Happy thoughtful young businesswoman with digital tablet in hand smiling and looking away in front of colleague at background

How to break into the tech industry as a woman with little experience

Happy thoughtful young businesswoman with digital tablet in hand smiling and looking away in front of colleague at background

By Frankie Malpass, Senior Product Manager, Goodlord

According to a study from PwC, women value making a difference in the world with half of those surveyed stating that feeling like the work they do makes the world a better place is the most important factor when deciding their future career, and I would have to agree.

But when you consider the small number of women in the tech industry – arguably the most significant sector in shaping our world today – it becomes alarmingly clear that more needs to be done to close the existing gender gap.

Whether it be down to the belief that the industry is too male dominated, the lack of visible female role models, or simply a lack of encouragement at education level, women are missing out on the opportunity to pursue a career in tech. But the industry needs women for a multitude of reasons: to ensure a diverse and talented workforce, to prevent biases in the sector, to narrow the gender pay gap and to provide role models to other aspiring women.

Personally, tech was the last industry I thought I’d end up working in. From avoiding IT class at school, to just generally being somewhat of a technophobe, I’d say it was a stroke of serendipity that got me to where I am today…

My journey

Starting any new career can be daunting, especially for the many people who finish education not knowing exactly what the future holds career-wise. Influenced by my friends, I joined a graduate scheme at the rental tech start-up, Goodlord. From what I’d witnessed from my friends’ experiences, start-ups seemed to offer the type of working environment I was looking for – innovative, fast-paced and creative.

A graduate scheme also sounded ideal as you would get the opportunity to rotate between many different sectors and learn which area of a company you could really enjoy and excel in. While this was my intended plan, I started in the tech support team at Goodlord and loved it so much I never left! Being exposed to the everyday problems faced by the customers inspired me to stick with tech, as being able to contribute to solutions and seeing the impact in the real world was especially rewarding.

During my scheme, an opportunity to join the product team cropped up and naturally, I didn’t want to miss out. Joining the product team enabled me to work alongside engineers to come up with tech solutions to problems unaddressed by previous innovators in the ‘PropTech scene’. Whilst it was initially very challenging, constantly feeling out of the loop and failing to understand various tech jargon, I couldn’t be more pleased that I persevered and finally managed to overcome any feelings of imposter syndrome. Being immersed in an environment of passionate and intelligent colleagues and having a mentor to look up to for support really enabled me to grow in both confidence and knowledge.

I am now a senior product manager, which involves developing and leading long-term strategic roadmaps, negotiating with stakeholders to ensure the most impactful work is prioritised and helping teams to consistently meet their objectives. The thing I love most about my job is the autonomy and creative licence it grants.

Top tips for women breaking into the tech landscape

  • You won’t know unless you try – If you’re considering a career in tech my best piece of advice would be to just go for it. Worst case scenario, it’s not for you and you move on to try something else. But you’ll be able to do so without being haunted by thoughts of ‘what if’.
  •  Imposter syndrome is natural – Everyone, whether they care to admit it or not, has probably experienced the feeling of being inadequate and unfortunately, this can be common for women in the workplace, namely due to a lack of females in similar roles, especially as you go higher up the ladder. Don’t let this become a barrier. Recognising your limitations and having confidence in your abilities can really help you to overcome this common phenomenon.
  •  Have the courage to ask questions – In my experience, the people that ask the most questions are the ones that go on to be really successful. After all, asking questions signals your willingness to learn and demonstrates receptiveness to new information – a skill that will be invaluable for career progression.

Today, it’s great to see more and more women deciding to pursue a career in technology and it’s easy to understand why it appeals to so many. A career in tech can truly empower an individual to implement real difference in the world. Working on the edge of innovation with like-minded people can also provide incredible job satisfaction and the scope of possibilities in tech is enormous– a career in technology is boundless. See for yourself and give it a go.

About the author

Frankie Malpass is senior product manager at RentTech company Goodlord. Since joining the company in 2016, Frankie has developed a great knowledge of the core tech platform and is a key driver of business growth.

Business inequality, gender gap vector concept with man at advantage. Symbol of discrimination, different opportunity, unequal treatment. salary. Eps10 illustration.

How education can help close the gender gap in STEM

Business inequality, gender gap vector concept with man at advantage. Symbol of discrimination, different opportunity, unequal treatment. salary. Eps10 illustration.Georgina Harris, the Dean of the Faculty of STEM at Arden University, discusses why gender disparity in STEM is so strong and the importance of practical work in schools and exposure to the STEM industry at a young age.

The STEM gender gap prevails. Less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women and this under-representation occurs in every region in the world, from schools, right up to senior professionals. In schools, boys are traditionally more likely to choose STEM subjects and to move on to studying STEM degrees at university. In fact, according to recent UCAS data provided by HESA, only 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK are women.

Why the gap exists

The gender gap in STEM is not about ability, as research shows that on the whole women and girls outperform men and boys in engineering fields of study, but more about implicit bias and stereotypes. In the UK, many people associate science and maths fields with “male” and humanities and arts fields with “female”. Such implicit bias is common, and it affects individuals’ attitudes not only to others, but what they themselves are capable of achieving.

In PwC’s Women in Tech report, they identified some of the main reasons why girls weren’t choosing STEM topics from their GCSEs onwards, including: being better or gaining better grades in humanities or other essay-based subjects; not finding STEM subjects as interesting; STEM subjects not being relevant to the career they plan to choose; and teachers not making STEM subjects appealing.

Added to this, 53% of girls asked in this survey also said their preferred career was a factor in their choice of A-Levels, compared to just 43% of boys, suggesting that despite thinking ahead, girls can’t envisage a career in STEM roles for themselves.

If you pair this with the fact that the STEM industry is male-dominated and therefore tends to perpetuate inflexible, exclusionary cultures that do not attract nor support women’s careers, the reasoning behind the gender gap becomes a little clearer.

Historically, the United Kingdom has produced some of the best engineers, scientists and inventors in the world. Consequently, the uptake of STEM subjects by international students looking to study here and learn the secrets of our success has increased whilst the take-up of these subjects by our home students has languished behind.

We are already in desperate need of STEM specialists at every level. Even if we ignore the expansion of the engineering and technology sector, we are now facing the worrying prospect of having insufficient engineers in development even to keep pace with those retiring from the industry each year. We know that talented individuals with these skillsets can find higher salaries and greater status in other countries and moreover these skillsets can be used in innumerable other well-paid careers such as business, programme management and finance. So how are we going to plug this ever-widening gap? 

How schools can close the gap

Schools have, for many years, been faced with the challenge of delivering education on a shoestring budget. Suitably talented specialist school educators are difficult to find in mathematics and the sciences. Not all schools have the funding to attract these scarce individuals nor to ensure that every young person receives career advice and guidance that covers the broad and rich range of opportunities that STEM affords. In addition, many schools in the UK have had to minimise the practical, experimental and manufacturing activities that would previously have encouraged students to consider the STEM subjects.

In my experience, learners gain so much from tackling a challenge that, as yet, has no solution; the opportunity to solve a puzzle before anyone else. For a real engineer or scientist, this is intoxicating; the excitement that keeps you working hard and that gives you that rush when you have your first success.

Schools are also locked in perpetual competition with neighbouring schools that drives school leaders to prioritise their league table outcomes over those of individual students. Young people who may improve their prospects by taking a mathematics or science qualification are frequently encouraged to take another subject in which they are more likely to get a top grade. This approach is dissuading young people from studying STEM subjects and disadvantaging those who do wish to choose STEM as a career.

The STEM industry needs more government support; this would involve schools getting better funding so that students can have the opportunity to step away from the desk and experience the wonders of a STEM career in practice. This experience would entice those who are wary of entering the field – especially young girls who see the dominant membership of STEM careers as male. Many students are surprised to learn how STEM applies to so many different industries; it fits into the latest, state-of-the-art running shoe design as much as it fits into the development of the latest disease curing drug. By exposing children to the wonderful possibilities that STEM affords, girls will begin to see that their aspirations to make the world a better place are possible through a career in STEM.

Moving into university

Embarking on a new career is a challenge for everyone. Young people build their confidence through experience at school, university and in industry. As schools have reduced the opportunity for pupils to engage with practicals to save costs, it is left to the university sector and their industry partners to support and nurture our new STEM recruits and give them the experience and constructive feedback that they need so that they too feel welcome and needed.

An essential ingredient of the successful Arden University model to date is the use of authentic assessments and engagement with companies in the development of our programmes and assessments. This gives our students two massive advantages: the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of design and development in the nurturing environment of university and the opportunity to “try” working on projects for several companies. The companies who work with us gain the opportunity to interview our students over the duration of the project and help us to identify areas of the curriculum that need to be strengthened. This also gives students the confidence to apply their learning in the working world, an important aspect when retaining new entrants in the field.

Ongoing projects like High Speed 2 (HS2) will take years to deliver and offer young people high profile and potentially stable employment in engineering and construction for many years to come. There is a real opportunity in projects such as these for new entrants to the industry to be mentored through apprenticeships in parallel with their academic studies. Similarly, the announcement of £5 billion of investment in “Project Gigabit” in the Government white paper “Levelling Up the United Kingdom” means another major infrastructure investment intended to ensure fair access to broadband across the UK which will generate employment in engineering, technology and computing. Not only are these projects great ways to encourage learners to engage with STEM but they also provide intrinsic societal benefit and generate tax returns to the public purse for further investments.

As an engineering and technology community, we need to work together to regenerate enthusiasm for our discipline by nurturing learners at every stage of their education. To meet the needs of our civilisation, we need creative, resilient, enthusiastic and engaged engineers, technologists and computing specialists who reflect the diverse society that they serve.

Women working with computer for design and coding program

Why we need to encourage more girls into coding and STEM

Women working with computer for design and coding program

Article by Elizabeth Tweedale, CEO and Founder, Cypher

Think Different. A great Apple ad campaign from 1997. The fact that we all think differently is at the very root of why girls – and everyone for that matter – should be encouraged to get into coding.

The reason we should encourage girls into coding is not just about feminism or equality, it’s not just about fairness or a ‘level playing field’, it’s not just about opening up glass ceilings and filling quotas. It’s far more important than that. It’s about solving problems for the future of our world.

Talking about the ‘female’ mind or ‘male’ mind is fraught with difficulty – so I’m not suggesting these are two different opposing gender-based options, but broadly painting a picture of a rich spectrum of the diversity of thought amongst individuals. A bit like we use ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’ ways of thinking. It’s the combination of this diversity, facilitated through inclusivity, that leads to the ability to solve problems in new and unpredictable ways.

As a teacher I have observed children approaching tasks in different ways which reveal different mindsets. Early on in my experience of teaching children to learn to code, I taught a class of boys a lesson about making a space invaders game. The lesson taught concepts about coding and computational thinking. The boys picked up the concepts fast, were highly competitive, designed efficient invader killing programs and were totally goal orientated. Soon after I had the opportunity to teach the same lesson to a group of girls. I was fascinated by the alternative way of working that they displayed. This group took twice as long to complete the task. However, they were collaborative, discussed different options, considered the design and colour scheme of the game and even considered the wellbeing of the aliens – providing ways for them to get food. They completed the task differently.

This got me thinking about the value of different approaches to problem solving. And also the very evident fact that there are less women working in technology than men. Women make up just 17%  of IT specialists in the UK. While the concept of computer science was invented by a woman, once it was turned into an academic subject to fit into an educational system designed largely around how boys learn, it lost it’s connection with the ‘poetic science’ displayed by Ada Lovelace’s mind. Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician working with Charles Babbage in around 1843, first developed the idea that computers had the capability to go beyond mere number-crunching.

The benefit of learning computational thinking, the core concepts behind developing code and algorithms, is that it gives students the tools to both think around problems and promotes the idea that there are many ways to solve a problem. Thinking computationally isn’t just about the questions you answer, but about the questions you ask. What I might call a male approach might be to set the question ‘What is 2×2?’ We can all do that – 4. But what if we ask the question, ‘How do you make 4?’ Immediately the mind expands and starts thinking of different angles. How about  8÷2, 1+1+1+1, 22, 60÷15, √16……there are so many ways. With different people working together – different genders, different heritages, different social backgrounds – the approaches are instantly diversified. And women tend to bring together a range of approaches rather than stick to a straightforward path.

In my own career I have an example where my approach, bringing together two different principles, led to a new and exciting solution. With my background in both computer science and architecture, I have developed the code to create a space planning app to improve office space usage. It was also the result of a great partnership with my husband, Bruce. By putting together two types of algorithms, a particle based system and a graphical based system, I was able to create algorithms to solve the space problems faster. Bruce, interestingly, says that’s something he would never have done and credits my ‘female mind’ as being able to think in a more lateral, pick’n’mix way. When it came to getting the algorithms patented however, he was the one to drive that process through and get it registered. Teamwork.

So how have we managed to put off so many girls going into computer science? Just 9% of female graduates in 2018 studied a core Stem subject – science, technology, engineering and maths. Some girls are keen on computing and I’m the last one to stereotype anyone into a particular role. I was both the president of the Computer Science club at high school – and the Cheerleaders. I love gaming. But I love other things too. I’m a Mom, and I like being in charge of how my home is, what the kids do and getting to know their teachers and the other school Moms. It’s my choice to take on that role in our marriage (as well as being CTO of our company). We just don’t make computer science sound that attractive to most girls. What’s the point? How does it relate to me? I read an Instagram post only yesterday from a woman who’d just got a house to herself after being brought up with three brothers – doesn’t this just paint a picture of what life can be like for some girls?

“There has always been noise, there has always been things everywhere that were the possessions of others, that weren’t for me, and I wasn’t to touch…amps, wires, guitars, drum kits, video games and televisions that I was never interested in but wasn’t ever allowed to use anyway – the year PlayStation came out was really shit, just saying.”

It’s not encouraging!

Things have to change. Everyone needs to get to understand technology better. The 98% of people who don’t want to be computer programmers have to have an elevated level of understanding of technology to be able to function in today’s and especially tomorrow’s world. An understanding of how computing works, what computational thinking is, how algorithms work – takes away the fear of technology. Technophobia is only overcome when you have a go, you discover it’s not so clever, it’s just about giving a machine a few instructions. And wow, those instructions can make a real difference.

By broadening the understanding of technology we can also help increase the numbers of women working in and understanding technology. When I spoke at a conference for International Women’s Day last year I was impressed by the recognition of the breadth of what ‘women in tech’ means. The marketing team was proud to stand up and say, “We are women in tech’. No, they aren’t labelled CTO but they do run the Facebook campaigns and understand the algorithms, they do run the website, they do analyse the data from all the technological interactions with customers.

How do we encourage girls into coding and STEM? By creating environments that welcome women. By appreciating that not everyone thinks the same and that there are many ways to peel an orange. By showing that they can tap into their creativity when learning computational thinking. That it can help their creativity. I set up my company, Cypher, to inspire children to learn the language of the future – code. From the outset, I wanted to make it as girl friendly as possible. The whole premise of Cypher is that we teach through creative themes – we want to catch a kid’s imagination and curiosity with subjects that mean something to them – whatever their gender. Our themes range from exploring marine ecology and conservation, to a virtual world tour meeting robots and building pyramids, to making magic, to fashion shows and composing music. And whatever the theme, we connect it to technology, learning to code and developing computational thinking. STEM by stealth if you like. The greater the range of children we can excite about coding now, the greater the diversity of thinking and problem solving that will be in the next generation of leaders, designers, thinkers – bringing new and surprising solutions to the problems we face in the future. As we say at Cypher, getting the next generation future ready.

Elizabeth Tweedale, CEO CypherAbout the author

Elizabeth Tweedale is a computer scientist, has a master’s degree in architecture, has written six books for children explaining different coding languages and is the Founder and CEO of Cypher – an edtech startup inspiring children aged 5 to 12+ to learn and apply the language of coding through creative and interactive camps and clubs. She’s also a mother of three young digital natives.

While working for Foster & Partners’ Specialist Modelling Group in 2013, she spotted the educational potential of coding. She explains: “My team used computer coding to design buildings, including the Apple Campus and the Gherkin. I saw many colleagues teaching themselves how to code and hitting stumbling blocks because they didn’t have a basic understanding of computational thinking and had never learned how easily code fits together.”

Her experience sparked a question. Shouldn’t we be teaching our young children how to code? And so she set up a company to do just that.

How do we close the gender data gap?

Mind the Gap, London Underground, Gender Pay Gap

Article provided by Hannah Thomason, Senior Data Strategist, Code Worldwide

My friend and I were reminiscing about our first jobs and I was astounded to hear about how she turned up to her first day and found she was the only woman in the web technology firm.

She also learnt they employed her for her appearance and hadn’t even read her CV! Another friend, an architect, often felt intimidated by her male colleagues due to the “laddy” culture that prevailed in her office.

Whilst I’ve never experienced such shocking behaviour, it made me realise there have been occasions where I’ve been the only female in a meeting room. This never surprised me – I knew before I embarked on a career in data science that it was male dominated, like many other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. However, I now appreciate this attitude of acceptance is wrong, and changes are needed to improve inclusivity.

Why do we need more women in data science?

Demand for data science jobs is predicted to grow rapidly, yet just 26% of women occupy data scientist positions in the UK (Better Buys, 2021). Lack of representation occurs early on, with just 35% of women in the UK studying higher education STEM subjects (, 2021). Those that do embark upon STEM careers, 53% of women leave organizations after 10 years compared to just 31% of men (Stych, 2019).

The data science gender gap needs addressing. Not only does a wider talent pool encourage collaboration, creativity, and innovation; it also enhances staff retention by improving employee morale and reducing churn rates. This results in increased sales revenue and improved competitiveness.

Additionally, mounting evidence suggests women’s viewpoints and experiences are being omitted from development of data technologies. Instead, they are predominantly based on a “universal” male perspective. There are concerns that algorithms will widen gender gaps, with Big Data only telling us half the story rendering machine learning systems invalid and less robust.

So, what’s preventing women from applying for a job in the data industry?

Causes are widely disputed– some believe men have a greater, innate aptitude for maths-based subjects, whilst women prefer to work with people (Wang and Degol, 2017). Others believe it’s due to environmental factors, with societal pressures of a male-dominated workplace culture and lower female confidence levels preventing women from applying (Williams and Ceci, 2012). A 2012 survey conducted by OECD to 15-year-old students highlighted how females feel discouraged due to the “confidence gap.” 41% of girls (vs 24% of boys) surveyed agreed with the statement: ‘I’m not good at mathematics”. It’s no wonder I was the only female in my A-level Maths class!

Inherent cultural biases also affect people’s perceptions around data science.  I must admit, I believed the media stereotype of a data scientist being a “nerdy” male sat in front of a computer all day poring over spreadsheets. Don’t get me wrong, spreadsheets play a part (and who doesn’t love a pie chart?!) but there’s much more to a data career than what the media portrays! Data is innovative, exciting and is transforming the way we live by solving real-life problems. Also, there ARE women in data roles. RAPP’s Marketing Science department is pretty much equal, with 48% women (which is unheard of in the industry!) More needs to be done around raising awareness and breaking down these barriers to allow changes to permeate the industry.

Of those women who DO apply what’s stopping them from staying?

Lifestyle choices play a fundamental part, with fertility and parenting impeding women’s career development. The gender pay gap leaves women feeling frustrated and undervalued resulting in attrition. Whilst the UK gender pay gap for full time workers has decreased from 9% to 7.4% since 2019, it still exists (ONC, 2020). These factors are arguably dominant in all professions – it’s simply intensified in data fields due to the smaller volume of women at the outset.

Lack of female mentorship is also a factor, with 30% of women in STEM roles feeling isolated due to lack of mentorship provision (McKinsey, 2015). I’ve been lucky in my career to have been exposed to amazing female line managers who have provided guidance and support. But I know I’m in the minority.

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So, what can be done about it?

The problem needs to be addressed at the source, with the UK government investing heavily in improving gender diversity of STEM subjects within schools and universities. As a result, there’s been a 50% increase in the number of women accepted onto STEM related degrees between 2011 and 2020 (, 2021).

Initiatives like The Alan Turing Institute connect women within data science, generating a like-minded community that shares valuable resources to develop their data careers. Creating partnerships with such organizations will demonstrate businesses genuinely care about achieving gender diversity.

RAPP is an example of how businesses can close gender gaps by fostering an open, company culture that champions diversity and receives strong commitment from senior management. Internal initiatives such as DISCO (Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee) promote an intersectional mindset through education, raising awareness and celebrating diversity. They also offer flexible working practices which is instrumental in helping both men and women stay in employment when they have young children.

Despite positive changes, there’s still work to be done. Recruitment processes should be non-biased and anonymized, and junior female data scientists should be linked with senior mentors who have the experience to provide encouragement during critical points in their career.

What does the future look like?

Drastic changes are happening to address the gender imbalance within data science. Whilst it’s noticeable that more women are coming into the industry, it will take time for it to filter through – especially to the more senior roles.

The gender gap is a serious issue and if ignored will compromise economic and sustainable growth. Indeed, it’s predicted that improving gender equality within STEM industries could improve global GDP by $12 trillion over the next four years (McKinsey, 2015). We have much to do to get there, but it’s possible.

Hannah ThomasonAbout the author

Hannah Thomason is a senior data strategist at Code Worldwide and has been with the RAPP Group for almost 6 years. In her role, she helps clients (including IKEA) with their audience targeting strategies and performance analysis. Hannah is also studying for a Masters’ degree in Management and Leadership at Cranfield University. Her thesis is about how RAPP Group can improve its recruitment and retention of women within data science.

Women working with computer for design and coding program

How apprenticeships could be the solution to the gender gap in technology

Women working with computer for design and coding program

Article by Katie Nykanen, Chief Technology Officer, QA Limited

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” When Kamala Harris spoke these words as US Vice-President elect, she continued a very welcome trend that has seen an explosion in phenomenal female role models in every walk of life.

Women like Kamala are breaking glass ceilings across industries and inspiring young girls to ignore the limitations that many of us above the age of 40 would have repeatedly had reinforced throughout our childhoods. But worryingly, STEM – and particularly technology – continue to lag behind many industries when it comes to female representation. Just 17% of UK tech jobs are held by women. 19% of computer sciences and technology graduates are female. According to the UN, in cutting edge fields such as artificial intelligence, only one in five professionals globally (22%) is a woman.

Female Graduates in UK by STEM Subject (Source: STEM Women)

Above: Female Graduates in UK by STEM Subject (Source: STEM Women)

With an ever-widening digital skills gap, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution blurring the lines between our physical and digital worlds, technology skills are only going to become more in demand. It is essential that we create a pipeline of diverse and competent talent that can fill the ever-increasing number of roles that will require these skills. So what can be done to get more women and girls into STEM, and particularly into technology?

The good news is there are some incredibly bright rays of light if you know where to look when it comes to alternative routes into both tech education and work. This includes tech and digital training programmes and free taster workshops like QA’s Teach The Nation To Code, as well as options allowing you to study right up to masters degree level while earning on the job. That is what apprenticeships offer, and I believe that with the right level of visibility and support, they could help accelerate the numbers of women and girls working in tech.

Since joining QA, I’ve come across numerous cases where young girls with a passion for tech might have dropped out of pursuing those subjects if they’d continued through traditional education routes rather than opt for an apprenticeship. Roberta and Rosie are just two examples.

Roberta is an IT Compliance Officer for the Financial Times that didn’t enjoy further education, including her subject choices of chemistry and maths and the academic environment. But she knew she wanted to pursue a career in tech. Not wanting to go back to college for her second year, her mum suggested looking at apprenticeships. From a junior apprenticeship in IT Systems & Networking, Roberta has gone on to achieve a recognised degree through a Degree Apprenticeship. She has held three positions at the FT since she joined, demonstrating the potential for both employment and educational achievements that workplace learning can offer. “I haven’t looked back”, says Roberta. “Right from the start I felt empowered by the responsibility. This was the real difference for me between [college] and an apprenticeship.”

Rosie is another fantastic example of the power of apprenticeships for young women. She says she pursued computing at school because “a guy said that because I’m a girl, I wouldn’t be able to do it.” Determined to prove him wrong she took the course and fell in love with programming. She was approached by Cisco at her schools career fair to apply for an apprenticeship. She went on to become Cisco’s youngest employee globally and achieved a degree debt-free by the time she was 19. Rosie says that one of the biggest benefits of an apprenticeship is that she’s “always learning and building a network of people around me.”

I truly believe the case for growing apprenticeships is powerful and strong. There are thousands of Roberta’s and Rosie’s out there who need to be encouraged to continue their interest in tech. While traditional education might be right for some, it clearly isn’t yet solving the gender problem in STEM, so we must make women and girls more aware of the alternative options before they lose their passion. Apprenticeships are becoming more popular, employers are changing their hiring strategies to target school leavers, and with Degree Apprenticeships there is no need to sacrifice your academic goals. So I call on people in the positions to make a difference – teachers, parents, CTOs, CEOs, and anyone else involved in nurturing, inspiring and hiring talent – to get behind apprenticeships. They are a powerful force for good, especially when it comes to achieving gender equality.

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Hire STEM Women featured

Network Spotlight: Hire STEM Women

Hire STEM Women logo

Tell us a bit about your network

Hire STEM Women (HSW) was founded by Tehreem Sheikh in November 2015 after realising a gap in the market for more female tech talent.  I especially found that firms did not have the time to give comprehensive feedback to students on where they were going wrong in the recruitment process, which is a crucial if you want to develop further in your career.

The challenges of a busy schedule coupled with lack of awareness & no network available for women in STEM at university level it was difficult for young women who wanted to progress in a technology career.

When you’re young you do not know what you want to do with your career and need direction. We have a network of 60,000+ STEM females (growing rapidly).  The team has a strong STEM background who partners with corporates such as Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and several other large corporates.

What is your network’s prime objective?

Our prime objective is to help the STEM industry obtain a gender diversity balance but also retain the balance to ensure we are challenging mindsets, breaking barriers and building a diverse workforce globally.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

We provide 1-1 bespoke coaching to females in the STEM industry. We have specialist skilled teams who work with corporate partners and start-ups to identify diversity needs. We provide undergraduate, graduate & professionals with STEM opportunities and support them on securing internships, placements, graduate schemes and roles with various leading industry partner firms.

Thousands of HIRE STEM Women job seekers have attended events or have been given the confidence to pursue a career within STEM with Hire STEM Women since January 2016, across the UK. We also have a strong training platform where we train individuals in specialist STEM areas.

Tell us about your events?

We host a number of events throughout the year these range from providing women with specialist STEM skills such as coding skills equipping and preparing the future female tech leader, we also coach women to become future leaders which is equally important.

Pre-Covid we were doing over 60+ events throughout the year but with the digital era we have shifted our focus virtually.

What should we expect if we join?

Immense amount of support and training equipping you to progress the corporate ladder in STEM fields. Our platform allows you to speak to a “STEM hero” who are our professional work coaches confidentially allowing you to openly discuss your career concerns and allowing to exchange ideas and obtain support. We are your friends as oppose to recruiters.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Members join our network by registering as a candidate on, there is no fee associated for a candidate, if an employer wishes to be a corporate partner they can get in touch with us at [email protected]

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Be pro-active and keep in touch with your “STEM hero” keep them updated about your situation and follow the guidance the team give you as this will help you in your career in STEM. The network is a safe place to be open and honest about your concerns. The below is to give you a brief insight on how we have supported people

“My name is Samantha Smith and I have secured a job at Capgemini as an SAP Functional Specialist. I have to thank HireStem Women for their efforts for helping me through the process of securing this job – especially my coach Mary. I first received a call-in which Mary clarified the role I applied to and wanted to understand my business background and why I had a passion for a STEM career.

The first stage Mary coached me on how to write the perfect responses to the questions asked by Capgemini; we went back and forth on a few drafts until we were both happy with it and submitted. From this I got invited to a Digital Interview; in which Mary then provided me with a few questions I should practice on – and if I wanted – I could send her a video of myself answering so she could assess my body language and eye contact. This was extremely useful as I was unaware how important body language can be during interviews and the prompted questions really helped me understand what to expect. From this I passed to the next phase which was psychometrics – and this was a stage I was extremely nervous about. Mary helped reassured me and provided me with the right tools to prepare such as mock psychometrics.

I succeeded at attended the Virtual Assessment Centre and before this Mary assured me and provided me with a briefing on what would happen and what to expect. She also gave me a choice whether I would want to send her a video of me presenting to help me get comfortable with some of the tasks within the VAC.

Mary was extremely effective and efficient. During the waiting process of getting the final answer, she was reassuring and comforting, and she truly became a mentor and a friend. She was honest with her feedback and assured me that she wanted to see me progress whilst also keeping me motivated. HireStem Women have really helped me throughout this process – especially when my morale was quite low because of the difficulties that came with Covid-19 and the job market. But nonetheless they were positive, reassuring, inspiring and amazing at empowering woman to go get their careers. “

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

Networking is crucial it allows you to share ideas and concerns with a group of like-minded people. According to Forbes it makes you more noticeable, provides you with an avenue of newer opportunities which will open new possibilities, it gives you a chance to re-assess your qualifications and improve creative intellect. Having a support network from high profile individuals can help you challenge effectively and provide the right financial support if needed, you will grow in self-confidence and most importantly develop long-lasting relationships to help you build your career.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We continue to expand and will be expanding in the European & APAC market.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here

Where are all the women? Bridging the gender divide in cybersecurity

Article by Mary Blackowiak, lead product marketing manager, AT&T Cybersecurity

cyber securityMy path into the cybersecurity industry might not be traditional, but I have always had a keen interest in technology.

It began at the age of eighteen when I managed a camera and photo processing store, then working with a major electronics retailer. I stumbled into the corporate world in 2007 working as a product manager for a distributor of data storage and networking products. I didn’t have a college degree and had no experience outside of retail and food service, but the hiring manager saw something in me that made him take a chance, by offering me the job. It was this gesture that likely changed my entire career trajectory and opened up a world of new opportunities. As I learned more about the products I managed and promoted, my passion for IT and high tech grew, and eventually I decided to attend classes at the local technical college where I achieved my associate degree in network administration.

To come full circle, a few years later I was recruited back to the big brand electronics retailer; this time in a corporate role as product segment manager working across many IT categories. My appetite for learning about tech continued, so I studied to earn my bachelor’s degree in network design and management.  And finally, after seeing the boom of cybersecurity in Austin, Texas, I returned to school once again, to gain my masters in cybersecurity.

At my graduation ceremony for my master’s degree, it dawned on me: where are all the women? There were always very few women in my technical classes, but in this instance, I was not only the sole female getting a masters in cybersecurity at the ceremony, but also the lone woman for any IT related masters program.

Fast forward a few years to taking a role in product marketing at AT&T Cybersecurity.  After a couple of months prior to taking the job, I headed to Las Vegas to attend a big cybersecurity industry event.  Walking the show floor, it hit me again:  Where are all the women?

According to a recent report from (ISC)2 , men outnumber women in the Cybersecurity field by 3 to 1.  Yet, even as I walked around the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, that number, in actual fact, felt generous.

Isn’t there a skills shortage?

One of the first things learned in Econ 101 is the Law of Supply and Demand.  While the numbers vary by study and author, there’s an overwhelming agreement that we have a supply problem in cybersecurity – a big one.  According to a recent research study by Emsi, a labor analytics firm, there are only 48 qualified candidates for every 100 job openings in the cybersecurity field. So, with demand high, and supply low, why aren’t women flocking to cybersecurity?

As with all complex problems, there isn’t just one reason.  Some argue that children are encouraged to study and aspire for different occupations, according to their gender, as early as primary school.  Others suggest that while the number of women choosing to pursue STEM degrees is increasing, the number of men choosing these subjects is increasing even faster.  There’s also a wage gap to consider and fewer female leaders, thus, fewer role models.  Or perhaps it’s that women are more likely to leave STEM jobs than their male counterparts.  On reflection, it’s probably a case of a little of each.

We can do better… 

It will take many purposeful actions and combined efforts to shift perceptions and change the current reality across families, school systems, universities, private enterprise, and the public sector.  And while everyone plays a part, those of us already in the field share the responsibility to drive this change.

Here are some things we can keep in mind to help advance women in cybersecurity:

  • Don’t be the barrier between you and opportunity:Most of the women I know will pass on submitting an application for a job description where they don’t meet 100% of the listed requirements. This is not how the majority of men operate. In fact, according to one study, women apply for 20% fewer jobs than men. If we limit ourselves to jobs that are an exact match to what we have done in the past, how will we ever expand our skillset or advance our careers? Apply to the jobs that interest you, network to make sure your resume gets to the hiring manager, and come to the interview prepared with how you plan to overcome that gap in your experience.
  • Be confident in your knowledge and experience:Some of the most brilliant women I have had the pleasure to work with in this industry suffer from imposter syndrome. I am no exception. There have been many occasions that a male colleague has challenged my point of view or knowledge of a particular technology that made me question how well I truly understood it. After doing additional research, I usually find that I had it right. We can all learn from each other. But resist the urge to immediately second guess your abilities when you encounter an opposing view and never pass up opportunities to be featured as a subject matter expert.
  • Lift up other women: We need to collectively quit viewing other women as “competition” in the workplace and instead start treating them as allies. Refer your talented female friends and colleagues for jobs, invite them to industry events, include them in meetings, and offer encouragement when they experience self-doubt. Have you seen young women get promoted faster, or heard that they are getting paid more than when you joined the industry? That’s a GOOD thing and means we are making progress.
  • Know when to leave:If your employer doesn’t appreciate the value you bring to the company, doesn’t compensate you fairly, or doesn’t offer you opportunities to advance your career and do what you are passionate about, find an employer that will. Yes, starting over is difficult. And yes, the job search and interview process can be tiresome, especially when trying to balance 40+ hours a week at the office and taking care of a family. Doesn’t it make sense to invest some time and effort in the short term to positively affect your earning potential over the next couple of decades and to realise fulfilment from something you are doing five out of seven days a week?

I credit my career to the hiring manager at the tech distributor who took a chance on me. If he hadn’t, I really don’t know where my career path would have taken me because cybersecurity wasn’t in my plan, although it turned out to be my destiny. I see so many bright, intelligent women second-guessing themselves or lacking confidence when pitted against a male colleague. Let’s all support each other, believe in ourselves a little bit more and, more importantly, show the younger generations that a career in cybersecurity is attainable and hugely rewarding.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here

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Will the pandemic widen the gender gap in the tech sector?


By Pip Wilson, co-founder lawyer-free digital divorce service, amicable

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, when talking about female led businesses, said, “One day there won’t be female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

While it's inspiring to see Sandberg leading one of the biggest technology companies in the world, the gender gap between men and women in the tech sector remains enormous. As someone who has worked in the tech industry for 20 years, I’ve seen first-hand how a lack of equality in the sector can inhibit innovation. I’m concerned the current coronavirus pandemic is creating stronger barriers to entry into the tech sector for women.

Education, education, education

Women growing up in the UK often believe STEM subjects and careers are not suitable for them. These societal norms have created a culture which has led to low numbers of women entering the tech sector. Only 30% of young women going to university picked STEM subjects, compared to 52% of men, and just 3% of women said a career in technology is their first choice compared with 15% of men.

These societal issues remain - many young girls in school believe tech-based subjects are only for boys. Government research in 2019 found that only 33% of 15 year old girls considered themselves to be the best at a STEM subject compared with 60% of boys. These views may have increased over the past six months - with schools closed due to the pandemic many young girls may believe it’s too difficult to catch up in the STEM subjects, leading to an increase in negative attitudes towards these subjects.

We need to challenge the misconceptions and encourage girls to pursue their interests in STEM subjects from an early age to foster the next generation of talent. Visibility of female role models, both in the corporate world and in an education setting, could help bust myths about women’s suitability for tech subjects, while the implementation of female-focussed STEM programmes at all levels of education could encourage girls to get involved – and excel – in these subjects. Universities should consider incentivising applications for females into STEM-based subjects.

Job opportunities 

After encouraging young girls to follow their interests in tech subjects, we need to ensure the job opportunities are available for them once they leave school.

The pandemic negatively impacted employment rates in the UK, prompting established tech businesses such as IBM and Uber to reduce head count. Unfortunately, women have been disproportionately affected by these cuts. A study by Trust Radius found that women working in the tech sector were 1.6 times more likely to lose their job than men. This only further entrenches the gender gap in the industry.

Positioning successful careers in tech as achievable for women is an important piece of the puzzle. Women could be put off from applying for roles if the industry is perceived as too male-dominated, so it’s important female role models are visible for others interested in following in their footsteps.

The value in a diverse workforce with strong representation from women is clear: tech businesses with greater gender diversity outperform less diverse companies by up to 15%. Companies must open their doors to female candidates and actively create opportunities for young women to enter the sector.

Funding gap 

In 2019, less than 1p in every £1 of VC funding in the UK went to female founded businesses. As someone who has received funding for my tech business, amicable, and funded other businesses, I’ve seen how this funding gap exacerbates gender inequality and suppresses innovation.

If the funding gap widens due to the pandemic, this could lead to even fewer opportunities for young women in the tech sector. Research has shown that start-ups with at least one female founder hire 2.5 times more women but if these businesses receive less funding, this could flow on to fewer employment opportunities in their organisations, and therefore less women in the sector.

Venture capitalists need to take a leap of faith and invest in innovative and exciting female-led tech businesses. When reviewing his business investments, US investor Kevin O’Leary found 95% of the women-led businesses he invested in hit their targets, compared to just 65% of the businesses led by men. Investment in women-led tech businesses is valuable, not only in achieving return on investment, but it helps close the funding gap while also creating employment opportunities for women in the sector.

The pandemic mustn’t be the catalyst for reduced female representation in the tech sector. The education system must work to break down the societal barriers that stop young girls believing they can succeed in the industry, while tech businesses of all sizes must maintain job opportunities for women, supported by considered investment in female led start-ups. These measures will help ensure the industry does not take backwards steps in gender equality.

Pip WilsonAbout the author

Pip Wilson is a successful tech entrepreneur, director, angel investor and start up mentor. Pip is currently co-founder and CEO of amicable, a lawyer-free online divorce service that has helped thousands of couples ‘untie the knot’ without the acrimony or expense.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Exploring Britain’s ‘Gender-Investment Gap’: Why It Still Pays To Be A Man

Just eight per cent of venture capital money went to all-female founding teams in Europe last year, at least that is according to Atomico’s 2019 ‘State of European Tech’ report.

And although this is technically a fourfold improvement on 2018’s report findings (which pegged the number at two per cent), the number is still distressingly low.

Meanwhile at home in the UK, a British Business Bank report has found that, for every £1 invested in venture capital, all-female teams receive less than 1p. Mixed-gender teams make up 10p of all investment. The remaining 89 per cent comes from all male teams.

Small minorities, large gaps

The biggest reason behind the huge discrepancy in the gender investment gap is mainly down to the fact that there is only a very small number of women-led companies to begin with. More women entrepreneurs are needed to normalise the presence of women in spaces that are typically male-dominated.

Another reason behind the gap may be that just 13 per cent of venture capitalists are female, a discrepancy that allows unconscious biases to take root. For example, researchers at the Lulea University of Technology found that financiers often describe male and female entrepreneurs differently, sometimes revealing pejorative stereotypical views of women in the process.

For example, women were more likely to be viewed as “young and inexperienced” whereas young men were considered “promising”. It seems that as a society, we automatically place the characteristics of what makes a successful entrepreneur on the male candidate, to the disadvantage of the female. The same Leulea study also found that women were, on average, offered significantly less funding that they asked for, and were also (unsurprisingly) denied financing on more occasions.

Tackling unconscious biases

The World Economic Forum has reiterated many times why it thinks there should be more gender diversity in senior roles within venture capital companies. And in the UK it is not just the senior roles that are the issue, as about 50 per cent of investment teams have no women on them at all.

This could all be solved with a more balanced management team, with a more visible presence of women. Venture capital firms and investors should not undersell their importance when it comes to making a difference, and the role they can function as a playing field leveller. Currently, the World Economic Forum is trying to counter the imbalance by advocating its own pool of funds for women and other under-represented entrepreneurs only. The mindset that men — and men only — can be successful needs to be done away with, no matter how much they resemble some of the world’s most successful billionaires.

Other alternatives

But bolstering investors’ defences against unconscious bias is not the only way forward. Venture capital money can be secured from other options. One is the so-called ‘angel investor’ method. Where high net-worth individuals see promise and give a helping hand. Winning over angel investors is all about networking and building the right relationships with the right people at the right time.

An opposite route lies with crowd-funding. An option that, in theory, doesn’t require previous networking connections. And then there is a sort of middle-ground between the two: so-called ‘university incubators’ or commercial companies with links to the universities. The latter can be really handy for entrepreneurial female students.

Women, entrepreneurship & the future

Increasingly, work is underway to figure out how such a wide gender discrepancy came to be. Findings from Oxford Brookes University believe it is practically down to a lack of reliable women mentors to show the way. And as a consequence of that, a lack of well-connected networks. It is currently working on a way to create an ‘entrepreneurial pathway’ for women.

But progress is slow. Unbelievably slow. For example, the World Economic Forum reckons that it could take over 250 years for the gender pay gap to close at the current pace of change. Hopefully, a greater awareness of the male-female discrepancy will speed things up a lot.

There is a financial incentive, too. For example, a study by First Round Capital found that companies with a woman in the lead performed 63 per cent better when compared to all-male founding teams. Sure, the sample size isn’t enormous, but regardless the growing recognition is there that companies don’t just “get by” with female leads. They flourish.

This article was written by Eliza Cochrane, who works for an asset and fund management company based in Essex.