Ada Lovelace featured

Inspirational quotes: Ada Lovelace | The first computer programmer

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and writer, known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

Lovelace was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine.

As a result, Lovelace is regarded as one of the first computer programmers.

Today, marks Ada Lovelace Day - an annual event celebrated on the second Tuesday of October. The day began in 2009 with the aim of raising the profile of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), and to create new role models for girls and women.

In honour of Ada Lovelace Day, WeAreTechWomen take a look at Lovelace's most inspiring quotes!


"That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show."

"If you can't give me poetry, can't you give me poetical science?"

"I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because, understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand about the many connections and relations which occur to me, how the matter in question was first thought of or arrived at..."

"Religion to me is science and science is religion."

"The more I study, the more insatiable do I feel my genius for it to be."

"Your best and wisest refuge from all troubles is in your science."

"The science of operations, as derived from mathematics more especially, is a science of itself, and has its own abstract truth and value."

"Imagination is the Discovering Faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science."

"Mathematical science shows what is. It is the language of unseen relations between things. But to use and apply that language, we must be able to fully to appreciate, to feel, to seize the unseen, the unconscious."

"As soon as I have got flying to perfection, I have got a scheme about a steam engine."


IWD Collage Tech featured

#ChooseToChallenge: What does International Women's Day mean to you?

IWD Collage Tech

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 #ChooseToChallenge.

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

Mary Asante"There are still a significantly high number of men working in the technology sector than there are women. Highlighting the innovative and positive contribution that women in tech can and are making to changing the world, will encourage more women to be inspired to join the industry. Mentoring and supporting upcoming female professionals will also be key to attaining gender balance in tech too.”

MARY ASANTE, DIRECTOR OF HRi


Justina Blair"Being a BAME female means International Women’s Day is a paramount day of reflection. It's a day to value and utilise our female narrative as a tool, to highlight progression and limitations- shared experiences are acknowledged and validated by one another. I am grateful and inspired to be in an organisation led by a female CEO- Alison Rose. As a woman in STEM that would like to see more women enter STEM roles, I choose to challenge any apprehension young females might have when navigating their careers. Today is about further growth in the potential for equality, regardless of gender. It's a day for community-spirit and a sense of belonging. As a member of a Diversity & Community work stream I am lucky enough to partake in panels speaking to young people and wherever possible I look to inspire the young women attending to take a leap of faith like I did."

JUSTINA BLAIR, DIGITAL INNOVATION DEGREE APPRENTICE, NATWEST GROUP'S ESME LOANS


Katie Beckham“I’m a big believer that as a parent, you find yourself trying things you never thought you would. Hence, my experience at Christmas building my first ever PC with my daughter, and also spray painting for the first time, because she wanted a pink case! If you want to motivate your girls, it turns out building a computer is like playing Minecraft! #ChooseToChallege #IWD”

KATIE BECKHAM, SENIOR SALES ENABLEMENT SPECIALIST, AUTH0


May YangInternational Women’s Day reminds me of all the female role models who have inspired me. We should actively use our power of influence, and the platform which we have, to uplift and inspire others. In our busy lifestyles, we often forget to thank those who have helped us directly or indirectly along the way, and we should take advantage of this day to thank them and pay it forward.”

MAY YANG, HEAD OF OPERATIONS, SYNECHRON


Nabila SalemInternational Women’s Day means so much to so many. To me, it’s a promise to ourselves and to young girls everywhere that we will continue the fight for equality. It’s a renewal of our commitment to do better, to educate, and crucially, to celebrate the successes of women across the globe. It’s a reminder that there’s a great deal of work yet to be done, and to stand up and challenge the injustices we see to create a brighter, more diverse future for all.”

NABILA SALEM, PRESIDENT, REVOLENT GROUP


Heather Delaney"It’s refreshing to see organisations such as Women in Tech and STEM Women which have been put in place to support women within the industry, and their celebration of days such as International Women’s Day. As we look to this year’s theme of ‘Choose to Challenge’, I challenge the notion that women within any industry should only be celebrated one day a year and instead, I look forward to seeing more senior women coming into STEM roles and being highlighted throughout the year for the great work they are doing within their industries. A future where we live International Women’s Day 365 days a year through the celebration of their achievements and the respect of female colleagues, and can one day retire the single day is one I look forward to."

HEATHER DELANEY,  MANAGING DIRECTOR & FOUNDER, GALLIUM VENTURES


Hannah Paterson"While I'm no longer the only woman in my organisation, I'm often the only one at the management table, which is a common pattern across the IT sector. This International Women’s Day I’ll be reflecting on the progress that we’ve made as an industry while focusing on the changes still needed to improve the future for the women of tomorrow.

“Yes, we’ve come a long way and it’s incredible to think that the proportion of women in specialist computing roles increased to its highest ever level this summer, according to BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. But at just 20% of the overall IT workforce, true gender equality is still some way off. Starting from a very early age, we need to do more to support our daughters in making positive choices and to open their eyes to the world of technology.

“As a mum of two young children, I know first-hand how flexible a career in IT can be, and how rewarding. It has taken me to the other side of the world and to some very interesting places - an offshore oil rig being one that stands out.

“With the pandemic transforming how we work and increasing the acceptance of remote working, I hope that even more women will be able to enter the IT profession and experience the opportunities for themselves. I choose to challenge the misconceptions they may have and show the breadth and variety of roles on offer – no coding skills required."

HANNAH PATERSON, PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, STEP5 - PART OF THE TXM GROUP


SHANDRA GEMMITI"International Women's Day is a reminder to both celebrate how far we've come and also acknowledge how much work is still left to be done. It's a day to come together and challenge the status quo, and recognize the need to continue to push for meaningful change. This day holds a special place because I want to be able to look at my daughter one day and explain to her that her mom pushed boundaries and challenged biases so that just maybe, she didn't have to."

SHANDRA GEMMITI, SENIOR PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER, SYNOPSYS SOFTWARE INTEGRITY GROUP


Hilary Mine"Women and minorities have contributed far more to science, engineering, and STEM as a whole than I was ever taught in school.  One of the things I most treasure about International Women’s Day is that each year we learn new stories of tremendous role models that not only exist today, but many who have contributed to society in past decades but were never acknowledged or celebrated.  The quilt of accomplishments and contributions is much richer as we understand all the contributors better.”

HILARY MINE, VICE-PRESIDENT STRATEGY AND TECHNOLOGY FOR NOKIA CUSTOMR EXPERIENCE


Anne-Sophie Le Bloas"In our society, women must fight much more than their male counterparts at every level. It's not simple to apprehend that, as we are all individually focused on our own trajectory. However, we can perceive the gap when we take a step back and look at the stats. On International Women’s Day, I will look at the stats again, celebrate the achievements, and acknowledge the work left to do. I will also encourage women and me an around me to do the same. And the rest of the year, I'll try to promote women and foster sisterhood."

ANNE-SOPHIE LE BLOAS, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, RAVACAN


Cynthia Huang

“Being a woman is a constantly evolving journey. The paths that were possible for us a decade ago are very different than the paths possible for us today, and the paths that could be possible for us ten years from now. 

International Women’s Day is an important milestone to check in at each year, to reflect on how those ever-evolving paths have empowered women around the world to dream bigger and reach further. 

As a mother and an aunt to young girls, I love that our generation of women, especially in tech, is uniquely positioned to both appreciate how far we’ve come, and not take the opportunities we have today for granted. Women in tech today must be mindful and not grow complacent in thinking that the positive trends we see empowering women today will automatically continue; we must be intentional in the paths we take and the paths we help cultivate for future women in tech. 

In the drone industry for instance, I look around today and I see all the amazing things that women have achieved. And I am thankful for the many men and women who have pushed hard and fought off bias to actively recognize and empower women in drones. The industry may still be viewed as male dominated today, but collectively we can work to change that perception. If not by sheer percentage breakdowns, then through a stronger effort to encourage, recognize, and appreciate the women in this fast evolving space.”

CYNTHIA HUANG, VP OF ENTERPRISE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, AUTERION


Napua Solsona, Chief Marketing Officer at Emjoy“International Women’s Day has a dual meaning for me. Whilst it is certainly a day to recognise and celebrate what we, as women, have accomplished so far; it is also a reminder for us to acknowledge the work that still needs to be done, so that we can continue to make a positive change for current and future generations. For me personally, this year’s “choose to challenge” message is a strong and powerful one. There remains an assumption that women should choose just one path; however, we are capable of being successful parents, leaders, friends and  partners, all at once. I decided to become a mother in my mid-20's; and I didn’t feel that to do so, I had to stop advancing my career. Women can ‘have it all’ and this year, it feels important to shout that message loud and clear.”

NAPUA SOLSONA, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICE, EMJOY


Gabriela Matic"I think International Women's day remains incredibly important. I love learning more about inspiring women and all the great things they have achieved and done to change the world, shape our futures and challenge the status quo. It's also a great day to reflect on how far we are from actually achieving true equality. All around the world, women still face great injustices and I think it's important to challenge anyone who is in denial about that. I try to challenge gender bias and inequality whenever I can in my everyday life by pointing out a lack of diversity or biased language - but a lot more needs to be done. More often than I'd like to admit I need to do this about my own biases or preconceptions too."

GABRIELA MATIC, PROGRAMME DIRECTOR, ATI BOEING ACCELERATOR


Francesca Brady“I saw an article recently about Whitney Wolfe Herd, the CEO of Bumble and the fact that she will be the youngest woman to take a company public. I also learned more about her background - she was a co-founder of Tinder but filed a lawsuit for sexual harassment and discrimination - which partly inspired her to create a dating app that put women in the driver's seat. She wrote the following in a letter attached to the IPO; it is poignant for many aspects of work and life: “The importance of a woman making the first move is not exclusive to the world of dating, romance or love. It is a power shift, giving women confidence and control."

It's amazing to have a day that we can use to promote stories like Whitney's and celebrate success from a challenging situation.

One of the biggest challenges women in tech face is the outdated misconception that women and technology aren't a good fit. Girls start hearing this when they are at school, and from my experience, it doesn't necessarily stop once women start working. So by simply starting out in the industry, I suppose I was already challenging gender stereotypes to a certain extent.

Since then, I hope that my appointment as CEO has shown that women can not only work in tech but become successful leaders. I want to challenge the notion that this sector needs ‘strong male leaders’, and inspire other women to strive towards decision making roles in the industry.”

FRANCESCA BRADY, CEO AirRated


Anna Tsartsari“While it has definitely become more inclusive over recent years, the construction industry still has a way to go when it comes to gender balance. A huge part of that is educating young girls and making them aware of the doors that are open to them – and that being female shouldn’t create barriers to what they want to do.

“The last year in particular has been even more challenging for women around the globe as they have had to cope not only with their full-time jobs and all the challenges that come with them, but also having to juggle family lives and being a teacher all at the same time. International Women’s Day is always brilliant at highlighting the amazing things women do, but this year I really hope it sees a wider celebration and recognises the multi-tasking most women manage.”

ANNA TSARTSARI, DIRECTOR, BE DESIGN


Sarah Dodsworth, Associate Director, SpaceInvader"International Women’s Day celebrates women’s ability to meet and surpass the challenges affecting our lives. In the design and construction industry where I work, for example, I would to go into meetings as a young designer and, more often than not, would be surrounded by older men. Learning to command the room was a major challenge, especially if someone was intent on belittling me. One of the big lessons I learnt was that equality is not achieved by mirroring such behaviour. Women’s emotional intelligence is all about the ability to make others feel ‘big’ around you, creating more space to grow yourself."

SARAH DODSWORTH, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, SPACEINVADER


Uta Dresch"To me, International Women’s Day is about challenging the idea that women ‘don’t belong’ in fields that are traditionally male-dominated, like STEM subjects. When I went to University (my Masters’ was in Mathematics), my fellow students at the time were mainly men. In the beginning, I intrinsically felt that I had to work much harder to prove myself and show that my knowledge and intellect were equal to theirs. However, once it was clear that this was the case, I was accepted and regarded as a peer.

I teach IT classes for primary school-aged students and discovered that when we separated the boys from the girls, the girls learned better. I found that boys aren’t afraid to use technical terms, even if they don’t understand the meaning. The situation is quite the opposite for the girls. They assume that the boys know more as they’re more vocal about it and so are hesitant to put themselves forward. However, when taught separately, the girls were given the space to be emboldened and discuss these technical topics more openly without the risk of (subjective) embarrassment.

Therefore, International Women’s Day to me is about encouraging more girls and women to enter educational paths in STEM from a young age, helping them feel more confident in their talent, and not feeling the pressure to prove themselves. It’s about showing that women belong in STEM just as much as men do."

UTA DRESCH, SENIOR DIRECTOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, DOCUWARE


Munni Musa"This International Women’s Day’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. We can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequalities and help to create a more inclusive world.

As designers of tech products, we have a responsibility to design products that benefit everyone. If we only view the user experience in one dimension, there’s a danger that the design features will only lend themselves to one type of user. For example, if gender balance is ignored when developing software, the end product could favour one gender over the other. It could be as simple as the position or design of a button.

Diversity (not just of gender, but also disability, age and cultural background) is important in the workforce as only through diversity of thought and opinion can we see a holistic perspective.

Diversity in the workplace reduces unconscious bias and creates a culture that women want to join and belong to. We can only really challenge gender bias if we reflect on our own bias, hold a mirror up to ourselves and review how we interact with other groups. Our role as leaders is to be culture champions, and be conscious of our behaviour, language and actions. Actions speak louder than words, and I feel we do that very well at Civica, creating a culture of inclusivity. But, we must all continue to challenge inequalities and choose to seek out and celebrate women across the industry."

MUNNI MUSA, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, CIVICA


Ismini Papachrysosto"In this modern world, women of all ages and ethnicities are facing challenges during their everyday life. I remember when I was at school, a teacher of mine asked me what I wanted to do in my life and when I explained that I want to become a programmer he laughed at me and told me: “you will never make it”! Thanks to my parents, who taught me to never give up and challenge everyone who tells me you cannot do, or your limit is. I knew at that moment he was wrong, and I will succeed. Many years later, I managed to become a developer hoping that I will never face similar issues. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Being a woman in tech was more difficult than I expected. People believe that you are not good enough to achieve what a man could do and the dream of climbing the management ladder is fading. During my career, I have had to try extremely hard to prove myself to colleagues, clients, and managers. I still remember in my early career a former colleague used to take every opportunity he could to try and belittle me and find mistakes in my code, and only after a detailed explanation would he accept it. This would have been understandable and even encouraged if he treated any other developer like this, but I was the only woman. Even though this was far from an isolated instance I would never consider giving up. Cases like this worked as motivation to learn, improve, become stronger and try harder. Recently at Love Home Swap, I have had the fortune to become a Lead Dev, this is partly due to their commitment to equal opportunities to all, and I believe partly due to my dedication and hard work in the face of everyday challenges. Challenges that not just developers but every single woman has to face. I hope that by reaching this position I can inspire other women and hopefully, no more little girls will ever be told: “you will never make it”.

ISMINI PAPACHRYSOSTO, LEAD FRONTEND DEVELOPER, LOVE HOME SWAP


Ayla Erimer - Head of Product"Gradually over the years it has become clear to me that things are not acceptable. From the boss encountered early in my career who rebuffed my request for decent pay by asking about my father’s finances, to inappropriate ‘jokes’ in the office, to the recruiter who cold called only to insist on knowing my salary history, I have begun to challenge inequity where I see it.”

AYLA ERIMER, HEAD OF PRODUCT, LOVE HOME SWAP

 


Nicole Curran - UK Connect"To me, international women’s day is a day to celebrate and encourage women both professionally and personally but to also highlight that there’s still significant inequality in the world. IWD has inspired me to be proud my achievements and has given me the confidence to challenge inequality and break down gender stereotypes with the work I do as a female engineer. Knowing that there’s still inequality for women is what motivates me to better myself to become successful in my career and to become a role model for the next generation.

Being an engineer, I challenge gender stereotypes on a regular basis with the work that I do, there’s still an assumption that being a female somehow means being less able when it comes to anything technical or physical, which is simply not true. It’s the small things like carrying a ladder or using an SDS drill that are daily tasks for me, but people are still taken aback when they see me. Having been an engineer from the age of 19 I can confidently say there is more of a female presence in the world of engineering, however not so much in construction as a whole and this comes down to gender stereotypes and putting male and female in separate categories when it comes to career options. You can see the effort is now being made to try and influence young women to choose careers in STEM and in construction which is fantastic however this has only just started over the past few years. The positive changes we make now will create a diverse future and I really look forward to it."

NICOLE CURRAN, FIELD SERVICE TECHNICIAN, UK CONNECT


Ewa Ambrosius L2"I think the ‘choose to challenge’ initiative is a great idea, giving International Women’s Day a focal point for 2021’s campaign, which will hopefully yield tangible results.

“For STEM-related careers, particularly in the construction and engineering sector, we need to directly challenge the persistent lack of gender diversity from boardroom to building site.

“We need more assurance from firms that there are absolutely no limitations associated with gender, you will be treated, valued, respected, rewarded and remunerated exactly the same as if you were a man.

“We have to identify those underrepresented boards in STEM-led companies, challenging them to appoint more women. It’s only through this representation at the top table that will lead to positive gender policies being implemented and enforced.

“It’s no good saying ‘we really support women’ and appointing or promoting none to senior management. Words are often empty unless accompanied by affirmative action. Hopefully, ‘choose to challenge’ will compel many businesses which still languish behind the diversity curve to reflect and make the change."

EWA AMBROSIUS, ASSOCIATE, PEREGA


Astra Duke"International Women’s Day is a day to remind all women, especially young women, that they are valuable, powerful, and deserving of every opportunity they wish to pursue."

ASTRA DUKE, DIRECTOR, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, EMEA, LOGICMONITOR

 

 


Daniela Streng Headshot"International Women's Day is about celebrating female trailblazers who sowed the seeds of change through courage, persistence and fearlessness, especially in male-dominated industries like tech. As the VP & General Manager, EMEA, at LogicMonitor, I hope to honour female pioneers of tech by tilting the imbalance of women in leadership roles and cementing paths for the next generation of women in tech."

DANIELA STRENG, VP & GENERAL MANAGER, EMEA, LOGICMONITOR

 


Alice Young“International Women’s Day is a reminder that glass ceilings are meant to be broken; and that women are unstoppable when they remain humble by always looking for those marginal gains, are accountable for their own success, and are determined to find a way to make the right things happen.”

ALICE YOUNG, SENIOR SALES DIRECTOR, LOGICMONITOR

 


Jessica Quilliam“Being in a male dominated world started for me back in my school days when I chose to do Physics, Chemistry and Maths as my A level subjects. This meant I was the only girl in some of my classes. I studied Materials Engineering and Metallurgy at Birmingham University and from there went to Bodycote Heat Treatments where I was the only girl on the shopfloor. Since then I have worked my way up from Metallurgist at Ronaldsway Aircraft Company (where we make precision aerospace parts) to Operations Manager. I now run the operations side of the business on a site with approximately 200 employees.

I am not sure I ever made a conscious decision to challenge the status quo of women in engineering, I just set out to do the best I could and not let anyone tell me I couldn’t in a field that I found extremely interesting. I am exceptionally proud of the work we produce and how we help save lives by making parts for the ejector seats that save the people who risk their lives to maintain the safety of ours. I have always found our work interesting in all spheres. Being an engineer is about finding a problem resolution and achieving an end goal, none of which matters if you are female or male. Everyday is about choosing to challenge the status quo of today.”

JESSICA QUILLIAM, SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGER, RONALDSWAY AIRCRAFT COMPANY


Jessica, Bark.com“For me, International Women's Day is about reflecting on women who have been inspiring, instrumental and have achieved success in technology; celebrating all their successes and what we have all achieved. It's also a time to think about what I can do to inspire other women and girls to pursue a career in STEM."

JESSICA, SENIOR BACKEND DEVELOPER, BARK.COM

 


Meera RaoAs a woman working in technology, I’m a strong believer that confidence is key. The true key to success is making sure your opinions and ideas are heard and being confident in your vision for what you want to achieve. In a field predominantly populated by men, women can defy the stereotype of what an engineer looks like by showcasing their expertise and taking a leadership role in implementing cutting-edge tools and processes. Early on in my career I realized that I needed to focus on my skills and ability to communicate effectively in order to gain the trust and respect of my colleagues. In other words, confidence and speaking skills are key to success.

It’s key to empower all voices and promote inclusion for one and all. Talking about diversity is a good start—everyone should understand that inclusivity provides many benefits within an organization. Diversity can help ensure a more productive, innovative, and creative workplace; a more respectful and positive workplace culture; and above all, employees who are happy create an organization with high employee morale. But it’s not always easy to have those conversations. We might start by having them within our own homes, our own inner circles, and then having those tough conversations at our workplace.

Being an advocate is vital no matter what position you hold in your organization. Making sure everyone in the workplace feels they are important, are able to express their ideas, and are wanted is key. When I first began travelling around the world and working with Fortune 500 companies, I struggled because I didn’t have any female role models, anyone to talk to, anyone to share my challenges or even my thoughts with. However, I was able to rely on mentors who helped me achieve my goals. That experience is why I vowed to be an advocate for women who were nervous to raise their voice, share their challenges, or speak up."

MEERA RAO, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, SYNOPSYS SOFTWARE INTEGRITY GROUP


Bev Chislett, Marketing Director - SolidatusBeing in the tech industry there are misconceptions that it’s a man’s world – it absolutely has been, but there’s been huge progress. At Solidatus, we’re not only set on making sure we actively do what we can to even things out by offering internships and training to female students, we have also naturally attracted world-leading female talent. I work with some truly brilliant and dedicated female tech experts that aren’t just here because of their gender to tick a box. IWD is a testament that marks how far our industry has come, but also on a personal note, taking a moment to acknowledge that Solidatus from its inception has held this value in its fabric."

BEV CHISLETT, MARKETING DIRECTOR, SOLIDATUS


Nicky Tozer featured“To me, Choose To Challenge sets the mission for us all to analyse, question and adapt. The key here is ‘choose’ – every single one of us needs to consciously assess, and act upon the imbalances that we still encounter each day. Whether that’s becoming the youngest female CEO to take a company public with a majority female board, or the men sharing the responsibilities to help address the work/family balance issues that have been exacerbated by remote working. Choose to challenge is the platform that reminds us of the need for education and action, and the work we must all do to normalise equality at all levels.”

NICKY TOZER, VP EMEA, ORACLE NETSUITE


Keeley Crockett“International Women’s Day’ allows us to focus on encouraging young girls to be excited about careers in STEM, and provides an opportunity to highlight women role models, who can provide encouragement, share experiences and most importantly, provide mentorship. The aim is to inspire and give them the confidence to pursue careers in fields, such as computer science, where there is still a lack of diversity. This is essential as more diverse teams produce better solutions which impact society as a whole. We all have a part to play in ensuring girls believe that a career in STEM is an option – using the words of Carrie Green “I can and I will. Watch me.”

KEELEY CROCKETT, IEEE MEMBER & PROFESSOR IN COMPUTATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY


Marina Ruggieri“In my research, activities cooperation and diversity are key-resources to aim for as they result in being both valuable, lasting and human-centric. In fact, space networks and technologies are intrinsically aligned with the need for broad teams. In this frame, the ‘International Women’s Day’ initiative is a yearly reminder of the importance of being inclusive, respectful and cooperative. It is the day we measure the efforts spent throughout the past year, the unavoidable failures and the enthusiastic plans to improve and do our best to make a better world more than just a beautiful dream.”

MARINA RUGGIERI, IEEE FELLOW & PROFESSOR OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS AT UNIVERSITY OF ROMA "TOR VERGATA"


Angela Garland“The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘choose to challenge’ – but this is a sentiment that girls should keep in mind every day when they pursue a career in the tech industry. There is still a stark gender divide and the very act of doing this means you are choosing to challenge the status quo. My advice is keep pushing and keep challenging at every opportunity.

I’ve experienced a variety of team compositions. I’ve managed all-male teams and (while they’re a rarity in the tech industry) all-female teams too. They both come with different dynamics and different challenges. My advice to young girls thinking about a career in tech is to go for it. The most important thing is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, speak up in large groups of men and put your ideas out there. Find an organisation that puts everyone – regardless of gender – on an equal playing field and pushes you into a role where you challenge yourself and those around you.”

ANGELA GARLAND, SUPPORT TEAM LEAD, CONTENT GURU


Yumi Nishiyama“In my more than two decades in the industry, I’ve seen vast improvements in the number of women at the table, especially where I am now at Exabeam. It’s a two-way street, plain and simple. Women must fight to be heard, but men must also listen and give them equal opportunity. The #MeToo movement was a major catalyst in Silicon Valley in recent years -- a critical reminder to treat every colleague, regardless of gender, with the same levels of respect. It also helped reinforce the idea that you must jump to support your colleagues when they are being discriminated against, or are in danger, even if it puts your own career at risk. While there’s much work to be done, it’s been refreshing to see more females on advisory boards, leadership pages on tech company websites and on industry panels. This International Women’s Day, I want to tell aspiring technology professionals to stick to their guns, follow their passion and find a company with people who appreciate their talents rather than stifle them. It might be them in the spotlight next!”

YUMI NISHIYAMA, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL SERVICE PARTNER ALLIANCES, EXABEAM


Debra Danielson“While we’ve made progress over the past few years when it comes to increasing diversity in the industry, it’s still largely male and white. Women and minorities are either not choosing the field or are not staying in the field. Women make up between 11 and 20 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce, suggesting some progress is being made, but also that we still have a long way to equality.

We all have biases, and these societal gender roles are deeply, deeply ingrained into all of us. It’s not just men that discriminate (consciously or unconsciously) against women. Women do it too. Think about how you change the system to balance the bias. Be really clear that this isn’t giving a “leg up” to a less deserving woman (to the disadvantage of a man), but it is a way to level the field and flatten the “leg down”.

Ultimately, stop thinking that there’s something wrong with women that have to be fixed. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that we need to “teach” women how to negotiate, how to speak up/interrupt, how to get a seat at the table, how to ask for the promotion, how to be more assertive… If you have a system that penalises women for negotiating, then don’t try and tell them that they’re underpaid because they didn’t negotiate.”

DEBRA DANIELSON, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER & SVP OF ENGINEERING, DIGITAL GUARDIAN


Donna Cooper“Gender equality is an issue that impacts many different people in a variety of ways.

After thousands of years of conditioning with regards to the “role” women play in society, systemic sexism has been ingrained into our psyche over a long period of time. When I look back at my career in IT industry, I can recall times where women’s ideas and opinions were dismissed only to be received positively when presented by their male counterparts; women openly criticised for “leaving their children” and “putting work first”; men promoted and awarded a higher salary over women despite having less experience and industry knowledge.

I have to believe that gender bias and inequality can be overcome but we are all responsible for making this happen. In more recent times, however, I am happy to have witnessed a groundswell of support from men who actively respond to the tacit consent of wrongdoing toward female colleagues, and there’s one organisation in particular where I know at least two men left as they were uncomfortable with its misogynistic mindset. With time and attention the issue of gender bias and inequality can be addressed with us all removing stereotypes from our language, being an advocate and ally to all women, having a flexible attitude toward those responsible for childcare, embracing diversity and - above all - being considerate toward the needs and feelings of our fellow human beings. This International Women’s Day, speak up, be bold and choose to challenge.”

DONNA COOPER, GLOBAL MARKETING DIRECTOR, WHERESCAPE


Nichole Sahin"This year's International Women's Day theme, choose to challenge, perfectly captures the social changes and feelings we have witnessed over the last year. Despite the immense difficulties people across the world have faced due to the pandemic, more people than ever have come together to vie for equality and inclusion of all kinds. Choosing to challenge reminds us that we all must play a role to help create a more equal world.

This past year it was fantastic to see women championing in all walks of life. Amanda Gorman, a young 22 year old became the first poet to speak at a US Presidential inauguration, using her beautiful words to inspire people around the world. Whitney Wolfe Herd recently just became the youngest self-made billionaire and youngest female CEO to ever take a company public. And Dr. Özlem Türeci, together with her husband, is the brains behind the Pfzier Covid-19 vaccine.

It is so important that together we champion and celebrate the achievements of others - we still have a long way to go in creating a more equal world, but together is the only way we will get there. I feel incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by an executive team, which includes strong female leaders of a business, where everyone advocates for equality and inclusion."

NICOLE SAHIN, FOUNDER & CEO, GLOBALIZATION PARTNERS


Liz-Cook“2020 was a year of massive societal upheaval, and 2021 has begun with equally as many uncertainties. The truth is, we are still living and working in an imbalanced world. Pre-pandemic, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report stated that globally, only 36% of senior managers and officials are women. In this new reality of pandemic uncertainty, gender imbalances have been exacerbated – a Boston Consulting Group report found that the increase in remote working has had a major impact on women, who have spent on average 15 hours more per week on domestic work during the pandemic. International Women’s Day highlights the importance of supporting women and men alike through agile working structures that level the playing field, and empower people to be the very best at what they do, no matter what their circumstances. As the People Director of a technology company, I am passionate about working every day to deliver these agile working structures that promote gender-balance and drive a better working world.”

LIZ COOK, PEOPLE DIRECTOR, SIX DEGREES


Leane Parsons“According to TechNation, £10.1 billion was invested into UK tech companies in 2019, with employment in the sector growing by 40% in comparison to two years prior. But despite this growth, just 30% of these roles are occupied by women. I strongly believe it’s difficult to fully challenge the inequality in tech until more women are in positions of power within the industry. We continue to be led by the top, which is predominantly male, and this feeds into the existing technical landscape slanted towards male audiences.

Seeing more women in leadership roles and positions of influence will inevitably lead to more women joining the industry, as well as more girls hoping to study an IT or tech related subject at university or in an apprenticeship. This year, I #choosetochallenge gender equality in tech. Let’s encourage more girls and women to join the tech industry, so we can move from being the outliers, to having equal representation at the table."

LEANE PARSONS, CHANGE MANAGER, NODE4


Rajlakshmi Pandey“My world – ICT – is still thought of by many as being a man’s world. I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking. It’s a technical world, for sure, but so long as you have the technical knowledge, it’s accessible to all. And it’s not just ICT, of course. There are powerful, accomplished and successful women in all walks of life. Just look around you! Gender doesn’t come into it. 

That said, within tech, there are still a lot more men. It’s improving slowly, but there’s still a lot more to be done. To help redress the balance, companies should put in place processes and programs that actively encourage women to come forward. These include things like internship programs for university students with flexible hours to accommodate ongoing studies and allocating headcount for women in technical roles. 

I’m fortunate because I’ve been able to turn my passion for computer science, and specifically my interest in Apple iOS, into a satisfying and exciting career. I’d like everyone – men and women alike – to have similar opportunities too, and that’s why I’m an avid supporter of initiatives like International Women’s Day.”

RAJLAKSHMI PANDEY, IOS DEVELOPER, EAGLE EYE NETWORKS


Agata Nowakowska, Skillsoft“With this year’s theme being “choose to challenge”, it’s more important than ever to challenge gender stereotypes and bias. Unfortunately, as a result of the pandemic, workplace gender inequality has widened. Women have taken the hit over this past year, with homeschooling due to school closures or having to be furloughed to manage that task.

According to a recent report, 46% of mothers have said that a lack of childcare provision played a role in their redundancy. A recent article in The Guardian, has additionally highlighted that the government is coming under increasing pressure to commit to gender pay gap reporting as it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. This is an extremely important issue that shouldn’t be brushed over because of economic uncertainty. If this happens, then it’s only allowing more companies to get away with gender-biased treatment.

Women of all ages and backgrounds need to come together to challenge the gender pay gap and the government needs to play its part in enforcing organisations tackle this issue head-on. Organisations should be treating all their employees fairly, no matter of gender. This year, #choosetochallenge gender pay gap reporting.”

AGATA NOWAKOWSKA, AVP EMEA, SKILLSOFT


Madelene Campos, Software Developer at BrightGauge“I first started in the tech industry about five years ago, when I made a career change from being a professional musician to software development. During this time, I’ve noticed that the amazing women I’ve had a chance to work with all tend to perform at a very high level. They are extremely thorough, detail-orientated and give 100%. In many industries, not just in tech, being taken seriously due to gender perception continues to feel like an issue. We often need to ‘prove ourselves’ more than men to show what we’re capable of. To help address this, organisations need to work with their HR teams to ensure that their employees, regardless of gender, are receiving equal pay and benefits.

We need to encourage more women to consider opting for a career in tech. Joining a support group that is inclusive and can give advice is a great way to get one’s foot in the door. There are many organisations that focus and support underrepresented groups in tech, such as PyLadies and RailsGirls. Even if women don’t want to code, there are so many other opportunities within tech. It’s important to understand that no one is born with tech skills. Learning how to solve problems, think critically and, at the very least, grow an awareness of what is happening in the tooling we use on a daily basis, is definitely worth the time and effort."

MADELENE CAMPOS, SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, BRIGHTGAUGE, A CONNECTWISE SOLUTION


Anna Litvina, Solutions Engineer at Bitglass"Although we are seeing more women choosing a career in tech , there is definitely room for improvement. It will take time and effort to shift away from it being a historically male-dominated industry. It’s important that from a young age, girls realise there is the possibility to work in tech. It’s not something that only boys can grow up to do. We need to better educate girls and young women on the possibilities, helping to break down barriers and eliminate gender stereotypes that have been boxing us in for so long. Today, the sky’s the limit and it’s a case of exposing girls to STEM and getting them excited about a future in tech."

I think tech organisations backing and promoting women-led networking groups and communities will go a long way in supporting diversity and inclusion in the sector. Supporting women to develop professional connections is important for finding mentorship opportunities and role models in the industry. It isn’t about building a “girl’s club”, but creating a safe space for women to exchange ideas, experiences and build partnerships."

ANNA LITVINA, SOLUTIONS ENGINEER, BITGLASS


Kleopatra Kivrakidou_Ergotron"As Channel Marketing Manager EMEA at Ergotron for the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of helping individuals in the B2B industry improve their wellbeing at work and thrive in their goals. I love working alongside technology because of the agility and customisation that it gives its users; for me working comfortably with technology brings out my best self, which supports my wellbeing and confidence in the knowledge that I’m adding business value and making a difference. While it’s true that the business world is still quite a way off from achieving gender parity, more organisations now recognise the importance of diversity in the workplace, and are taking on the responsibility to attract more female talent and provide more equal opportunities for growth.

Recent global circumstances have put the spotlight on working mothers, with many organisations implementing flexible work structures to help them maintain a work-life balance during this difficult period. This includes enabling them to continue to work from home, if their personal circumstances don’t allow a return to the office, and providing the right technology and equipment to support both productive working and wellbeing. Working environments that build their success on respecting diversity, giving equal opportunities for development to all, and who trust their workforce for who they are, become, by definition, the ones where you find more women."

KLEOPATRA KIVRAKIDOU, CHANNEL MARKETING MANAGER EMEA, ERGOTRON


Caroline Seymour_Zerto (1)“International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate how far we have come together, but it is also a reminder that we need to continue to support and encourage all the young girls and women out there. When it comes to the tech industry, women are still significantly underrepresented. Technical innovation is playing a critical role in almost every industry and there are a significant number of tech positions that need filling. We need women to fill those roles. Women think differently and bring unique ideas to the table. What’s more, a diverse team can actually boost performance.

It still floors me when I read that women make nearly 20% less than men, and that they won’t reach pay equity with men until 2059. It shows an astonishingly slow pace of progress and highlights that we need to focus on equity just as much as we do equality. This desperately needs accelerating, and further proves that there is still so much work to be done. The sad reality right now is that it takes longer as a woman to gain credibility. We have to work harder at it, but the rewards are incredible.

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to bring these problems to light, but it cannot be a one day issue. It requires continuous work and cultivation. To those entering - or wanting to enter - the tech industry, I would say go for it with everything you have. Be confident. A common mistake when looking at a job description is thinking that you have to have all the experience outlined. Believe me, you don’t - no one does. If the role looks interesting and you believe in yourself, go for it and don’t hold back. Enjoy the journey and give yourself nothing to regret - even if it is a bumpy ride at times.”

CAROLINE SEYMOUR, VP PRODUCT MARKETING, ZERTO


CHRISTINA KOSMOWSKI“International Women’s Day is about amplifying the voices of female trailblazers, especially those that aren’t traditionally heard, so that their accomplishments can be celebrated and serve as inspiration for new generations.”

CHRISTINA KOSMOWSKI, PRESIDENT, LOGICMONITOR

 


YAELA SHAMBERG“A conversation that remains front of mind is the perpetual drive for balance and gender equality in all levels of business. In my business, I’m looking for women at advisory businesses, technology shops, and in the leadership ranks. This International Women’s Day offers a chance for every organization to ask themselves - what should we be doing to attract and grow more female talent, top-to-bottom, in our ranks?

Often times women don’t advocate loudly enough for themselves and many have family responsibilities that mean the path to success can’t be a traditional single lane highway. This is a dynamic and ever changing world, and with it, needs to come ways in which we seek out, attract, mentor, grow, challenge and support women.

I’m proud to say that at InvestCloud, six of our seven business lines are run by women, and we have amazing women all over the c-suite as well as throughout the organization. That being said, we strive every day to be better, to be dynamic, to challenge ourselves and be open to all the voices that help give us balance and drive our success. And this year I challenge all of you to start doing the same.”

YAELA SHAMBERG, CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER, INVESTCLOUD


Frances McLeod"When I started out in investment banking in the 1980s, the gender disparity was incredibly stark; out of 150 professionals in my department, only four were women. This ultimately created a male-centric culture in which the women felt we needed to blend in with our male counterparts and adopt their approach in order to be successful. As a female founder of a company whose leadership is heavily female, International Women’s Day reminds me just how far we’ve come but also how much work there is still to do to ensure that women are given and are able to take opportunities to become leaders. Women now have the freedom to develop their own voices and approaches and make themselves heard in the workplace, and we have seen the benefits of this in the white collar world, where there has been an upsurge in collegiate spirit amongst women. Unfortunately, the compliance sector is still lagging behind in terms of gender bias, but we are challenging this through boosting female representation in top positions in our own firm and then driving collaboration between female-only, female-led and ally-led teams in legal firms and corporates."

FRANCES MCLEOD, FOUNDING PARTNER, FORENSIC RISK ALLIANCE


Fiona Maini"International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual reminder to celebrate women’s achievements and emphasize the critical need for equality and parity within society. We know across all walks of life the benefits of diverse collaborations, inclusion and fairness. IWD is not just an important day in our calendars every year but a mission we should all highlight and practice every day as a continuum. Just within the clinical research industry we are starkly aware of the benefits of inclusion of diverse groups - the participation of women, racial and ethnic minorities help researchers find better treatments to diseases that are effective within all communities."

FIONA MAINI, PRINCIPAL, GLOBAL COMPLIANCE & STRATEGY, MEDIDATA


Isobel Broderick"I have never thought of myself as a 'woman in construction'. I just see myself as someone who is passionate about, and loves, her job, and who enjoys working on site and seeing a project progress. I learn something new every day. Gender doesn’t affect ability, loving what you do or being able to acquire new skills and technical knowledge. Every day is an exciting one in my job role and the industry that I'm in."

ISOBEL BRODRICK, PROJECT MANAGER, DBR (LONDON) LIMITED

 


Julie Chapman“International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements that have been made in the past and the present, and look to the future to ensure that we create an inclusive environment that everyone can flourish.

“This year being #ChooseToChallenge reminds us that we all play a part in creating the inclusive environment we live in and we must be brave to challenge behaviour that goes against this.

“This past year, more than ever before, has really challenged women in the workplace, where they are juggling home schooling with work meetings and deadlines. But by being flexible and providing an environment to support our team members that face this challenge, have ensured that we continue to deliver our targets, despite these challenges faced.”

JULIE CHAPMAN, CTO RETAIL, ENTAIN


Anna Chung"Never stop challenging the labels: It’s so easy to fall for the myth that you have to fit some kind of traditional mold to be able to go for technology roles - that there’s a specific set of experiences, behaviours and skills you need. Any individual, regardless of gender, is greater than any label; we’ve all got great potential to enrich or even completely redefine them. If working in technology interests you, just be yourself!

Challenge yourself: We all want to see our workplaces and society as a whole continue to improve diversity and inclusion, but these improvements won’t happen if we don’t actively pursue it. It’s so important to make time to engage with others, ask questions, learn and celebrate diversity. Opening yourself up and taking action is the first step in making yourself part of the changes you want to see in the world.  

Pick your challenges: There’s no predetermined path you have to follow or one ‘right way’ of getting there. Pick the challenges that interest you rather than those that are imposed on you. And always remember to take time out to be kind to yourself."

ANNA CHUNG, PRINCIPAL THREAT ANALYST, UNIT 42, PALO ALTO NETWORKS


Carla Baker“There’s no doubt the technology sector is changing. Ten years ago I would be one of perhaps two or three women at a cybersecurity event, and while this is changing and there’s more ethnic and gender diversity now, I think we still have a long way to go.

“I wouldn’t describe myself as a traditional techie, but I understand technical concepts. Finding a role in this sector isn’t all purely about coding and hacking - there really is a diverse range of opportunities requiring an array of different skills. 

“I’ve been supported by building relationships with other women in technology throughout my career. Let’s keep inspiring the next generation to get stuck in, but also offering our time to mentor those already in the industry - supporting each other and challenging the status quo.

CARLA BAKER, SENIOR DIRECTOR, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, UK & IRELAND, PALO ALTO NETWORKS


Hannah Wright“We need to acknowledge that there still aren’t many women in senior leadership positions in the technology industry. If you are one, give your time. Be there to support other women and give them the confidence and, critically, the flexibility to explore their interests and future development.

“Every man in this industry has a female relative or friend. We need your help too. Talk about what you do, help others understand there are so many opportunities out there open to them. Help us share that working in technology isn’t just about coding away in a darkened room.

“Don’t be put off by having never worked in technology before either - there are so many transferable skills we look for. I’m a biogeochemist by training but got my first job in IT through a temping agency, pre-internet age. We constantly look out for people we could hire from completely different industries that can demonstrate great results; then we just help them learn to talk about cybersecurity."

HANNAH WRIGHT, CHANNEL DIRECTOR, NORTHERN EUROPE, PALO ALTO NETWORKS


WeAreTechWomen International Womens Day

#EachForEqual: What does International Women's Day mean to you?

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 CHAPMAN-CHAMBERLAIN, COMMUNITY RAIL EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION LEAD FOR COMMUNITY RAIL LANCASHIRE

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."

JENENE CROSSAN, FOUNDER, FLOSSIE

 


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.”

DR KAREN PANETTA, IEEE FELLOW AND DEAN OF GRADUATE ENGINEERING, TUFTS UNIVERSITY


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."

CHRISTINA HOWELL, CLOUD PRACTICE LEAD, AND DIGITAL


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."

GABI MATIC, PROGRAMME DIRECTOR, ATI BOEING ACCELERATOR


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!"

CAROLINE CARRUTHERS, CEO, CARRUTHERS & JACKSON & WAS THE FIRST CHIEF DATA OFFICER FOR NETWORK RAIL


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!"

ALICIA BEYLAN, SOFTWARE ENGINEER, DELIVEROO

 


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!"

JENNY KENYON, PARTNER TRANSFORMATION CONSULTANT, CISCO SYSTEMS


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."

CHARLY LESTER, CO-FOUNDER & CMO, LUMEN

 


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"

TINA VALAND, FS CLIENT RELATIONSHIP SENIOR MANAGER, PWC


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."

SUNAINA AYTAN, CYBER SECURITY ANALYST, ESECURE


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."

LISA VENTURA, CEO & FOUNDER, UK CYBER SECURTIY ASSOCIATION


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.”

NANCY THOMSON, FOUNDER & CEO, THOMSON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS


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."

VIMLA APPADOO, LEAD SERVICE DESIGNER, DIGITALBRIDGE

 


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."

AGATA JONES, FRONTEND ENGINEER, WAYHOME

 


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."

TARA ANNISON, PRODUCT OWNER - PLATFORM, ELLIPTIC

 


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.”

BRYONY GRIMES, TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY ANALYST - THE LAB, TELEFONICA UK (O2)

 


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."

SOTIRA GEORGIOU, SENIOR STRUCTURAL ENGINEER, RAMBOLL UK


Karrie Liu"I 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."

KARRIE LIU, FREELANCE ANALYTICS CONSULTANT FROM BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM

 


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.”

SOLFRID SAGSTAD, EXECUTIVE MARKETS MANAGER, MOTITECH


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."

NABILA SALEM, PRESIDENT, REVOLENT


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.”

BRIDGIT HARTLAND-JOHNSON, INTEGRATED SYSTEMS INNOVATION MANAGER, ØRSTED


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."

NATALIE MOORE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, APPS FOR GOOD

 

 


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."

MEGAN NEALE, COO & FOUNDER, LIMITLESS


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."

LOUISE GODFREY, JUNIOR TEST ANALYST, ACTIVEQUOTE


Katrina Novakovic"International 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?"

KATRINA NOVAKOVIC, BUSINESS ARCHITECT, EMEA OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY, RED HAT


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."

DR ANNE WHITEHOUSE, PHD SCIENTIST & ACADEMIC, LIFE ALCHEMIST & CONFIDENCE EXPERT

 


Rupinder Garcha"For 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."

RUPINDER GARCHA, DIGITAL PROJECT MANAGER, GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK)


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.”

JULIE PURVES, CEO & FOUNDER, B2M SOLUTIONS


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.”

PATRICIA HUME, CEO, CANVAS GFX


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.”

EMMA BEAUMONT, CMO, ANTWORKS


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.”

NETA MEIDAV, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, VAULT PLATFORM


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.”

BITA MILANIAN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL MARKETING, RIBBON COMMUNICATIONS


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.”

RACHEL KING, MARKETING DIRECTOR, BREATHE


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."

NINA MA, TECHNOLOGY RISK ASSOCIATE, PWC


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."

KENDA MACDONALD, CEO, AUTOMATION NINJAS


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.”

AISHLING FINNEGAN, DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OFFICER, CONGA


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."

LAUREN STEWART TACK, CEO & FOUNDER, INVIGORATE PLATFORM


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.”

SHLOMIT WEISS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SILICON ENGINEERING, MELLANOX TECHNOLOGIES


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.”

DEBBIE HEALD MBE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, HEALD LTD


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."

PUJA JHA, SENIOR ENGINEER, VERSA NETWORKS

 

 


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.”

WENDY WILLIAMSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, INDEPENDENT AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET FEDERATION (IAAF)


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."

VICTORIA COPE, UK HEAD OF CATEGORY - METAL, BAE SYSTEMS PLC

 


Megan Bramwell"For 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."

MEGAN BRAMWELL, RESEARCH MECHANICAL ENGINEER, LOGAN ENERGY

 


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.”

CAROLINE VOOGHT, DIRECTOR, EXPION SEARCH & SELECTION


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."

PROFESSOR ELENA RODRIGUEZ-FALCON, PRESIDENT & CEO, NEW MODEL INSTITUTE FOR TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING


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.”

ROOPA BAYAR, DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING, VERSA NETWORKS

 

 


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."

KATY CORRIGAN, HEAD OF DELIVERY EUROPE, INVESTCLOUD


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.”

VICTORIA BARBER, TECHNOLOGY GUARDIAN, SNOW SOFTWARE


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.”

ALEX POOLE, FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE INNITI EFFECT

 

 


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.”

KLEOPATRA KIVRAKIDOU, CHANNEL MARKETING MANAGER EMEA, ERGOTRON


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.”

AGNES SCHLIEBITZ-PONTHUS, DIRECTOR CONSULTING, FLUENT COMMERCE


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."

NICOLE SAHIN, CEO AND FOUNDER, GLOBALIZATION PARTNERS


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." 

SAMANTHA NGUYEN, PRODUCT MANAGER, BITGLASS


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."

SAMINA SUBEDAR, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, STORCENTRIC


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."

SHERI VILLERS, VP OF PRODUCT ENGINEERING, SENTRYONE


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.”

DONNA COOPER, GLOBAL MARKETING DIRECTOR, WHERESCAPE


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."

BETHANY ALLEE, SVP MARKETING, CYBERA


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.” 

HUGH SCANTLEBURY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, AQILLA


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.”

LAUREN TUBB, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, CIVICA


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.”

LISA ENTWISTLE-GRAY, SOFTWARE APPLICATION CENTRE DIRECTOR, CIVICA


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.”

SANAM MAJEED, IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANT, CIVICA


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.”

DR. KATE HILYARD, COO, HEALX


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.”

KATALIN ADORJAN, VP OF PEOPLE AND DEVELOPMENT, PREZI


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.”

JULIE CULIVAN, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE OFFICER, FORESCOUT


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.”

KATE CHKHAIDZE, MACHINE LEARNING SCIENTIST, CERVEST


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."

ELLENA DUFFY, SENIOR BUSINESS ANALYST, WIREDSCORE


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.”

NEIRA HAJRO, PARTNER, MCKINSEY DIGITAL


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.

FEDERICA BOWMAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DIGITAL, FIRMDECISIONS


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."

SEEMA KHINDA JOHNSON, CO-FOUNDER & COO, NUGGETS

 

 


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!"

MANSATA KURANG, FOUNDER, VR REVIVAL


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.”

LORNA BENNET, MECHANICAL ENGINEER, OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY CATAPULT

 


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.”

COLLEEN WONG, FOUNDER, MY GATOR WATCH

 

 


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.”

RACHEL CLANCY, CO-FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR, TEA CREATURE DESIGNS


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.”

OLGA KRAVCHENKO, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, MUSEMIO

 


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.”

REBECCA SAW, FREELANCE DEVELOPER & XR DESIGNER