As we all know, in recent years the IT sector has been going through it’s golden era. However, an unsettling thought is that the number of women working in technology is significantly lower than most other sectors in the UK. A mere 17% of workers in Technology in the UK are female. Furthermore, only 7% of students taking Computer Science as an A-Level are female. Another startling statistic is that only half of the girls that study IT and Technology subjects at school go into a job in that field.
As a tribute to all of those female professionals who fight to improve this statistic on a daily basis, we present a list of some of the most influential women in Technology.
Baroness Joanna Shields, OBE
Baroness Joanna Shields is very well known as a ‘technology industry pioneer’ and the founder of a movement called WeProtect, which was created with the goal of ending the sexual exploitation of children online.
She is also the former Minister for Internet Safety and Security, and a Life peer in the House of Lords. Baroness Shields also became the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Internet Safety in September of 2017.
She has also previously had successful careers at Google, Bebo and Facebook.
Marta is the Manager and Co-founder of Azimo, which is a money transfer startup company which was founded by Marta and 3 other people. According to her LinkedIn profile, Marta describes herself as a ‘Tech entrepreneur, proud migrant and diversity advocate.’ She was incredibly recognised in 30Under30 by Forbes in 2016, and in the Evening Standard as one of London’s Most Influential People in 2017. Since the launch of Azimo in 2012, it has allowed customers to send money to banks, mobile phones and home delivery in approximately 190 countries across the world, and has over 1 million users worldwide.
Wendy Tan White, MBE
Wendy was a partner at BGF Ventures, a General Partner at Entrepreneur First and Co-founder and CEO of Moonfruit. Furthermore, she is a trustee for The Alan Turing Institute and a member of the Government Digital Advisory Board. She was proudly awarded an MBE in 2016 for her services to technology and business and she continues to share her advice on some obstacles that she faced while scaling a digital business.
Michelle is the CEO and a Co-founder of Peanut, which is a matchmaking app for like-minded mothers. She previously worked as deputy CEO and Badoo, which is a large and fast-growing social network. Peanut’s website states that they´re “on a mission to build a community of women, who happen to be mamas.” When Michelle became a new mother, she felt isolated and alone, and she told The Independent that she decided to transform her emotions into an opportunity and launch Peanut. Since the launch over a year ago, the app has over 300,000 mothers who have swiped profiles over 19 times and sent more than a million messages to each other.
Eileen Burbidge, MBE
Eileen Burbidge is a Co-founder of investment fund Passion Capital in 2011 and since then, Passion Capital has invested in a series of successful London-based companies such as GoCardless and Smarkets. Eileen was given an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in June for her services to business, and then in July, Eileen was named the UK Treasury’s special envoy for fintech, a type of technology that London is particularly famous for due to the sector’s relation with banks and politics. She was also named as one of PM David Cameron’s business advisors. 2015 was the year when Eileen really became the face of London tech, this year was when she took the job of Chair of Tech City UK, which is a famous organisation that works to promote tech startups in the UK. Eileen has had profiles done in The Guardian, Techworld and The Evening Standard. Eileen has also previously had successful careers working Apple, Yahoo and Skype.
Just as it was quoted in the film Mad Max: Fury Road, “Hope is a mistake. If you cannot fix what is broken… you will go crazy”. All workers in the technology sector, of all ages, genders and professions, must work together to fight the barrier between men and women. Women deserve to have the same salaries and opportunities as the men in the sector. Women deserve to be treated as equals.
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