One Tech World aims to highlight the challenges facing women in tech by fostering a community to transcend the hurdles.

As women continue to advance and excel in their tech careers, experts have urged the industry to be each other’s partners and allies.

The empowering one-day virtual event, One Tech World, offers the opportunity to learn about innovative technologies and professional development, whether you already have a strong network of female colleagues in your field or want to extend your network.

On 01 April, a community of women in technology gathered to hear inspiring messages from industry leaders, allies and advocates.

For the second year, the conference was delivered as part of a global virtual learning experience via a state-of-the-art conferencing platform.

Theresa Palmer

Theresa Palmer, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, said creating a diverse workforce is not something that occurs overnight.

“It takes a constellation of activity, over a continuous period of time, to really turn good intentions into tangible change.”

In her opening keynote address, Palmer said, it’s time to stop talking about change and make it happen: “We need some serious barrier-busting! For me, this means no longer talking about gender equity and encouraging anything because it’s the ‘right thing to do’. You’re darn right, it’s the right thing to do! So we, as organisations, need to get to work! If we need open and clear paths for women, what are we doing? If we need to retain women, what are we doing? If we need more women in senior roles, what are we doing?

“At BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, we do this by setting clear objectives and monitoring and reporting on gender across our organisation. We look for the leaky valve and we work to plug it. With tangible actions and measurements to understand if we’re getting it right,” she added.

She noted that a lot of work has already been done in recruitment: “Keep it up,” she said. However, she shared her concerns about learning and development. “Businesses should be identifying where their leak is and working two grade levels below it to close it,” Palmer added.

She advised: “To really drive gender diversity in organisations, we need to move on from gender equity being the right thing to do and we need to find the right thing to do. And then we need to do it.

“Act early. Intervene with genuine, worthwhile development programs. Set targets for your businesses, to drive diversity into your leadership development programs.”

Ensure our leaders are held accountable in their objectives and reviews for delivering diverse and cultural value to our businesses.”

Since the start of its annual conference in 2015, WeAreTechWomen has welcomed over 5,000 people through its doors. The One Tech World conference seeks to demonstrate how the tech world works and to introduce attendees to the cutting-edge technology that is now impacting industries around the world.

The purpose of the event is to provide opportunities for women in technology, at all levels, to adapt their skill sets and expand their networks. During the live conference, attendees of One Tech World 2022 had access to all keynotes, panels and content, as well as the chance to revisit all sessions for 30 days afterward.

This year, the event covered over 160 topics, including technology trends, artificial intelligence, the future of drones, FinTech, HealthTech, ageism and more.

Below are just a few of the standout topics that featured this year

Ortis Deley speaking at the One Tech World conference
What can we expect from technology in the future?

Ortis Deley, the host of The Gadget Show, gave One Tech World attendees a whistle-stop tour of the future of technology.

Up and coming technologies mentioned included virtual reality, wearables, innovations in cameras to improve diagnoses through accessing healthcare data, 3D printing in healthcare, altruistic tech and energy storing materials to slow climate change, and the impact that fusion plasma will have on society.

Dealey said: “No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but a lot of the innovations that we take for granted today will form the foundation of some future tech.”

“I say ‘some’ because some of the techs that we use will quite possibly grow out of what we’re able to do with what we have at our disposal, at that time. For example, very few people saw the inception and rise of companies like Uber, because we didn’t have the infrastructure for 4G mobile telecommunication.”

Paving the way to net-zero

The term “net-zero” is a popular topic of discussion currently and refers to a situation in which greenhouse gas emissions are matched by their removal from the atmosphere.

According to international scientific consensus, global net human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced by approximately 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, with net-zero emissions expected around 2050.

Jennifer Tsim, Partner at Oliver Wyman, and part of its Global Financial Services and Climate and Sustainability team, used her One Tech World session to give an overview of the topic with advice on what needs to be done.

“Achieving net-zero will ultimately require action from every company and every sector and a real shift in the entire global economy,” she said. “Net-zero requires an entire eco-system shift to a greener economy, and we’ll all be impacted.”

Tsim noted that governments, companies and individuals “all have a role to play if we are to be a success on this road to net-zero”. She invited attendees to think about their own roles, skillsets, companies and contacts and asked: “How will you think about contributing to net-zero in your work and in your decisions going forward?”

Jennifer Tsim
Dr Kathryn O'Donnell
Can Space Tech save the planet?

Dr Kathryn O’Donnell, COO, In-Space Missions Ltd, at BAE Systems, delved into the topic of space technology and whether it can help the planet with climate change and sustainability, defence and law enforcement, and space services.

“Can space tech save the planet? I’m going to say no. Not on its own,” she said. “It can give us the tools or data we need to save ourselves, though, and I think that’s what we need to consider. Hugely useful, but we need to act with it.”

O’Donnell informed attendees about the range of careers within the space sector and how those wanting to make a difference could find the answer in a space tech role.

“The space industry has a huge amount to do to help us save our planet,” she noted.

“There are lots of jobs and lots of really interesting careers in space industries, so for those of you attending One Tech World today who are interested, dust off that CV and have a look at how you can help the space industry save the planet.”

What is neurodiversity?

Jacqui Wallis, CEO of Genius Within CIC, discussed the topic of neurodiversity at work and dealing with cognitive overload with a DevOps engineer from Dropbox.

Jennifer Opal, DevOps engineer at Dropbox, was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD in 2018 and shared her experience with One Tech World attendees.

“I realised that when I was reading text, it was making me feel overwhelmed….and I’d never felt that before. I could see that I was avoiding reading in every way that I could.”

Wallis and Opal agreed that being a neurodivergent individual has several benefits. Opal said: “What I find so incredible about being neurodivergent is that we are looking at things from a whole different angle.”

“We’re able to connect the dots so well, see a pattern and share that…it helps in every industry, whether its tech or outside of it. You’re able to give an idea that can help and contribute to projects that can provide great impact to the team and great impact to the company.”

However, Opal added: “I have to work in an environment that’s healthy and inclusive and practices it. It’s not just about talking about it. The action has to be there.”

She closed by encouraging all neurodivergent minds to be themselves: “It’s okay to be who you are. Don’t feel guilty or ashamed of being who you are. And be sure that, wherever you are in terms of your career, don’t ever look at being neurodivergent as a deficit. And if anyone makes you feel that being neurodivergent is a deficit, always remind yourself that you’re not the problem.”

“You were born the way that you are. Your brain is beautiful and amazing and creative and talented just the way it is. If someone else has an issue with that, it’s them.”

One Tech World Featured Images (2)
Menopause in the workplace

Kat Holmes, Founder of MenopauseX, discussed the topic of menopause in the workplace with a panel of experts working in the field. MenopauseX was created to bring together leaders in data, tech and menopause care.

Amy Lindsay, Chief Data Officer for a UK construction company, is currently leading one of the sub-teams on the MenopauseX initiative. She explained that MenopauseX is seeking to plug the gap from a data and insights perspective to make a material difference to the well-being of women in the workplace.

Gaele Lalahy, Chief Operating Officer for the menopause app Balance, said we need more data on menopause to prove that there is a problem that needs addressing: “We need data to convince people. There’s a huge taboo around menopause and I think until you come with really hardcore data on what is happening – or more importantly, what is not happening – and the impact it has on the workplace, on women’s lives, and on society, it’s difficult for people to listen.”

“We know that 25% of women suffer serious symptoms from menopause, but 77% don’t realise it’s from menopause. 79% of those women visit a GP and 7% have to attend more than 10 appointments to get better assistance, and some 24% who are receiving treatment have to wait more than five years,” Lalahy explained.

“So you can imagine all those hurdles, all the unnecessary suffering just within that bit of data that I mentioned….already people can start to listen and say ‘Huh. I didn’t realise that was happening. So, what are the solutions? What can we do?’”

Lucy Chatwin, Director of the Newson Health Menopause Society, highlighted that the pandemic has created greater flexibility in working: “If you’re experiencing symptoms that aren’t very helpful, having the flexibility to be at home is great.”

“However, one of the things that we want to do is make sure that with the more than 32 symptoms that you experience with peri-menopause or menopause, you’re still able to have a conversation with your line manager about what they mean for you and what those daily adjustments need to look like. Because they will be different for all individuals.”

Attendees of One Tech World 2022 also had the opportunity to share selfies in the photo booth and interact with other participants, partners and speakers in the networking lounge, chat rooms and at a virtual pre-event networking meet.

Did you miss our conference on 01 April? You can now buy a digital pass which will enable you to watch all 160 sessions over a 30-day period!