Celebrating diversity within technology
A recent article in the Evening Standard highlighted that London has the highest proportion of women entrepreneurs in Europe, according to a global study of 50,000 start ups. However, it seems that the issue of the industry being dominated by men prevails – both for entrepreneurs and those in organisations. This is backed up by research undertaken at the recent everywoman in Technology Leadership Academy with 45% of women surveyed saying that they believe it is harder for them to progress than for their male counterparts.
But it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. These stats got me thinking about the women who are making their way in technology and the truly amazing diversity of businesses and roles that they represent. I hate to admit it, but I do think I’ve previously fallen into the trap of viewing technology as being, well, intimidating techy! The women we have met really show that this isn’t the case. Yes, many are impressively talented in a technological sense and this clearly is a vital skill, but the roles and skills required are much broader as well – Communications and Marketing, project managers – to name but a few.
Winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year at the everywoman in Technology Awards this year was Olga Kubbasova of Image Analysis Ltd. Olga’s talent for technology has led to her creating a ground-breaking business which allows clinicians a vital window of opportunity to treat arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in its early stages by turning the abstract concept of algorithms into innovative software. At just 27 years old, Olga has turned a start up into a team of 25 with a turnover of £1m!
Another fabulous business is that of Pat Ryan, a 78 year old finalist in the 2012 Awards. Following retirement Pat set up Information Technology for Children in Hospital in 1997 to enable children suffering long term illness to continue their education and has been instrumental in providing equipment for over 240 hospital schools, impacting 250,000 children – an amazing achievement.
The list goes on, and what really struck me was that many of these women are in turn helping others to thrive in technology – for example Kirsten Duffield, CEO of Morning Data Limited invested 3% of the company turnover into an improved working environment and external training for every member of the team, showing a real focus and passion for developing others.
What we need now is for young women and girls to have their eyes opened to the possibility of a career in technology from a younger age – to not be put off by outdated and stereotypical ‘geeky’ images and to embrace what could well be a fantastic career full of possibilities. And for proof of this look no further than women who have achieved this already
Nominations for the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards are open for just a few more days until Monday 26 November – nominate online>>