WeAreTechWomen conference 2020

WeAreTechWomen, the technology arm of WeAreTheCity, hosted its first virtual, full-day conference for female technologists.

The conference, proudly sponsored and supported by Accenture, BAE Systems, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Dell Technologies, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, NatWest, Oliver Wyman, OpenFin; PwC; and RBC; saw over 1,000 delegates log on, from across the technology sector and a range of companies including Sky, Aviva, RAF, Finding Ada, Stemettes, Mastercard, Three, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Shell and Monzo.

The conference consisted of six stages, with over 60 speakers, 20 exhibitors and over 15 Q&A panels. Delegates could shape their own learning as well as revisiting sessions they may have missed, with a 30-day playback.

The morning began with a number of keynotes from inspirational role models in tech, including Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President, techUK; Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, IT Entrepreneur & Philanthropist; and Edwina Dunn OBE, Chairman, Starcount and Founder, The Female Lead.

Jacqueline de RojasSpeaking during her keynote about digital inclusion, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE said, “We need to more to make sure no one is left behind.”

“Women make up 47 per cent of the UK workforce but only 17 per cent of the tech workforce, and only 15 per cent from a minority ethnic background.”

“Diversity matters because equality is a noble cause, it’s good for business and to create a digital world that works for everyone.”

Dame Stephanie Shirley 1Speaking during her keynote, Dame Stephanie Shirley CH said, “I pioneered the concept of women returners and began a crusade for women – a company of women, a company for women, and early social business.”

“For years, I was the ‘first woman this’ and the ‘only woman that’…I couldn’t even open the company’s bank account without getting my husband’s permission…”

“Never ever take today’s freedoms lightly.”

Across the day, delegates enjoyed listening to a number of high-profile speakers including Professor Sue Black OBE, Professor of Computer Science & Technology Evangelist; Martha Lane-Fox CBE, Entrepreneur & Co-Founder, lastminute.com & Founder, Dot Everything; Sharmadean Reid, Founder, WAH Nails & Beautystack; Baroness Joanna Shields OBE, Group CEO, BenevolentAI; Wincie Wong, Head of Rose Review Implementation, NatWest; Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, The Fawcett Society; Mark Martin, Computer science lead, South Bank Engineering UTC aka Urban Teacher – UK Black Tech; and Anne Boden MBE, CEO & Founder, Starling Bank.

Throughout the day, delegates heard about topics such as AI, Cyber Security, Robotics & Drones, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Fintech, Green Tech, Health Tech, and many more. Attendees could also pose their questions to speakers via a number of virtual Q&A sessions. Topics ranged from the future of tech after COVID-19, data ethics, the future of banking, and health tech.

WeAreTechWomen Conference panel

Those attending the conference also had the opportunity to view two more exclusive stages – on-demand and the KiDS stage. The on-demand stage featured over five hours of content, including a fireside chat with Dame Wendy Hall; a look at how Formula 1 team, Williams is supporting women in engineering; Trinity, a keynote speaking robot; and gaming with Kate Russell.

The KiDS stage was designed for children, aged five to 15. WeAreTechWomen are avid supporters of encouraging children to enter the world of technology, and delegates were actively encouraged ‘bring along’ their own children, nieces or nephews. The stage featured a variety of interactive sessions, such as lessons about AI and Cyber, as well as learning to code. These sessions were kindly provided by our partners, TechSheCan, Raspberry Pi, Girlguiding & Code First Girls.

Networking booths - WeAreTechWomen conference

Networking and visiting an exhibition hall were still on the agenda – albeit virtually. On the day, there were several networking lounges for delegates to attend and chat in group forums and personal one-to-one chat rooms. The exhibition hall featured 13 booths, where attendees could meet and engage with sponsors, download handouts and documents, chat with experts and watch additional videos.

Check out more of the conference buzz here.

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