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Women in Tech 2024 | Silicon UK Tech News



In the vast landscape of technology, women continue to carve out their paths, leaving indelible marks on innovation, creativity, and progress. As we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2024, reflecting on women’s journeys, challenges, and triumphs in the tech industry is paramount. While strides have been made over the years towards gender equality, there is still much ground to cover and much more potential to unlock.

As we navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving technological landscape, it’s imperative to harness the full potential of diverse perspectives and talents. By championing women in tech, we empower individuals and foster a culture of creativity, collaboration, and excellence that benefits us all.

On this International Women’s Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting and uplifting women in technology, recognising their invaluable contributions, and working towards a future where gender equality is not just an aspiration but a reality.

The arrival of AI, which now touches all businesses, is also unlocking opportunities for women: Research commissioned by Accenture surveyed 18-24-year-olds in the UK about their uses of generative AI and its impact on their career choices and prospects.

Nearly one in five (18%) young women now use generative AI tools every day at work or in their studies, with the figure similar in young men (22%). Three-quarters (75%) of young women also reported being interested in generative AI, with over half (53%) believing it will have a positive impact on their career prospects. A similar proportion (56%) of young men shared this career confidence boost.

Liz Barnsdale, Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity lead in the UK & Ireland, said: “Generative AI could be the once in a lifetime opportunity to get diversity right in the UK workplace. With over half of Gen Z women considering AI roles having used the tech, we could finally turn the tide on under representation of women in industries from the technology sector to creative and design. If deployed responsibly, generative AI can completely reinvent how a business operates, and the tasks people do, which means AI could help to equal actual inclusion.”

Liz Barnsdale, Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity lead in the UK & Ireland.

The second most popular career choice was in business development, such as marketing and sales (28%), followed closely by a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or maths (at 26%). Today, women represent just over a quarter of current STEM workers in the UK, and there is a noticeable gap between girls and boys who study STEM subjects beyond GCSE (35% of girls versus 80% of boys). In a sign that this gap could close, the survey found that of generative AI users interested in pursuing careers or further study in STEM, 44% are women, and 56% are men.

When asked how generative AI could affect their working lives in the future, nearly a third (31%) of young women claimed AI would help them be more creative, versus just 26% of young men. Over a quarter of young women (27%) also reported generative AI would help them structure their thinking at work (versus 24% of young men).

“In order to successfully navigate the age of intelligence, British businesses will need to nurture diversity,” Barnsdale added. “With Gen Z women, and men, taking up the technology we must grasp the nettle between employers and education institutions to ensure their potential is realised through the right access to skills and training. As business scale their AI investments, and technology becomes more intuitive, it will create demand for a multidisciplinary set of skills spanning software engineering, linguistics, and design – all of which creates opportunities for women and men to flourish in an economy completely rebooted with AI.”

 Women in tech

For International Women’s Day (IWD), Nash Squared has produced a new analysis of diversity in tech data showing the progress made from 2018-2023 with the proportion of female digital leaders in tech and women on the tech team across several countries, including in the UK, US, Asia, Germany, and Benelux – compared with global data (see below). Also included below are related data/announcements regarding diversity in tech released by a number of sources in the last few weeks.

Region Female digital leaders Women on the tech team
  2023 2018 2023 2018
Global 14% 12% 23% 21%
UK 12% 9% 23% 20%
US 20% 16% 27% 25%
Asia 17% 12% 22% 20%
Germany 7% 8% 19% 18%
Benelux 16% 6% 22% 16%


Although it was recently reported that a record number of women applied for computing degrees in 2024 (up 10% to 18,880), Nash Squared’s Digital Leadership shows that the proportion of women in tech teams across major geographies has moved at a glacial speed (e.g. globally and the US – only up 2% in five years, and in the UK up only 3%). Germany is moving the slowest on diversity in tech, with only 19% of the tech team female and with only 7% of digital leaders female. See full comparative table above.

Although women were increasingly attracted to a career in tech during the pandemic and immediately following, due to the rise of remote working, return-to-the-office policies and mandates are having an impact on the number of women being hired in tech. The Nash Squared Digital Leadership report found that a high number of mandated days in the office has had a negative impact on the proportion of female new hires in the tech team over the last two years. For companies without mandated in-office days, 28% of the tech team hired recently is female. This number drops to 22% at companies with a mandated 5 days in the office.

Speaking to Silicon UK, Camellia Chan, CEO and Co-founder of Flexxon, says: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who have been incredibly supportive from day one, but I know that’s not the reality for a lot of women, especially in a male-dominated industry like technology. That’s why celebrations like International Women’s Day are so important. It fosters collaboration and communication and encourages workplaces to evaluate whether all employees feel comfortable being themselves, regardless of their background.

Camellia Chan, CEO and Co-founder, Flexxon
Camellia Chan, CEO and Co-founder, Flexxon.

“This is crucial because women are still underrepresented in technology, and the cybersecurity sector doesn’t fare much better. As cyber threats continue to increase rapidly, and cybercriminals become more sophisticated, empowered by advanced technology like AI, there’s a huge gap in the cybersecurity workforce. In fact, four million more people are needed.”

Chan concluded: “Cybersecurity leaders can help to close this gap by supporting women looking to join the industry. That could mean encouraging innovation by creating a safe space to fail such as an R&D lab, investing in mentorship and education programmes, or spearheading diversity and inclusion policies that open up a dialogue to ensure every employee is welcomed. This will not only enable a larger workforce to take on cyber threats, but also create one with diversity of thought so it can keep people safe through constant innovation.”

Myth busting

There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise! However, common misconceptions that plague our nation’s STEM industries could mean that not enough women are given the necessary confidence, tools, and opportunities to begin a career in these subjects.

Let’s take the UK tech industry. A report discovered that only 17% of the IT sector’s workforce is made up of females. With young, impressionable women exposed to misleading and inaccurate theories, it’s no wonder why a significant proportion aren’t running towards these subjects.

It’s crucial we debunk these common misconceptions and begin having valuable conversations about women in tech. Not only will it encourage diversity and inclusivity, but it will also motivate more women to seek careers in STEM, which will create a better work culture, foster innovation, and improve results.  

Kura, the UK’s largest independent outsourcer for improved customer communications, busts five common misconceptions surrounding women in tech. 

Myth 1: Women aren’t interested in technology

Says who? A stereotype that holds no factual weight. In fact, the number of women applying to IT courses has increased by a staggering 82% over the last 10 years. This proves that not only are women interested in the subject, but that interest is growing. It’s also important to consider how crucial technology is in many women’s personal lives. Regular usage demonstrates a level of understanding and engrossment, so it would be wrong to believe a lack of interest is at fault here. 

Myth 2: Women lack the skills and abilities for tech jobs

Not only is this an inaccurate claim, but it can also be an extremely damaging one. The biological sex of a person plays no part in their ability to grasp a certain subject or skill set. Some women may lack the relevant skills and abilities for a tech job, but the reason behind this could be one of many. Spoiler alert: none include gender. 

If women do have interests but lack skills, one cause could include insufficient encouragement while growing up. Subconscious stereotyping is still a problem within some families; the ‘football is for boys and dancing is for girls’ mentality is outdated, yet it lingers. When we conform to this kind of labelling early on, we’re teaching our children that their gender should influence their interests. This will set them down on what could be the wrong path that impacts their adulthood. 

Myth 3: Women aren’t competitive enough

Some women aren’t competitive enough to be triumphant in the tech field, but the same could be said about some men, too. Although studies have suggested that the average woman is generally less competitive than the average man, there isn’t enough evidence to support claims that this statement is responsible for a lack of women in the sector.

The success of numerous women in the tech industry does well in debunking this myth. It was Ada Lovelace, who became the world’s first computer programmer, and Hedy Lamar, who pioneered the technology that would eventually provide the basis for Wi-Fi. The competitiveness of these ladies has never come under scrutiny.

Myth 4: Women aren’t committed to their careers long-term

Ambition and commitment are not a cause for concern for many women. This claim perpetuates harmful stereotypes as it implies males should be awarded positions over females in every situation because, apparently, they’ll be much more dedicated to the job role and company. 

In reality, women have proven to be just as ambitious and committed as men. In fact, a study by McKinsey & Company found that 74% of women aspire to be in top executive positions, which is only 2% lower than the 76% of men who made the same statement. 

Grace Anderson, Senior HR business partner at Kura, supports the long-term benefits women bring to the workplace. She said: “As an employer, it is incredibly useful for us to have multiple viewpoints when outlining business strategy or implementing changes based on our employees’ feedback. Women’s contributions to the workplace take many forms, including improved retention, enhanced collaboration, and boosted employee engagement through inspiring female employees.”

So, what’s the deal?

Now that we’ve debunked four of the most common myths, let’s discuss the real reason why only one in six employees working in Britain’s IT industry are female. It’s not because they lack drive and interest or aren’t competitive enough. More likely, stereotypes and cultural attitudes cause the underrepresentation of women, as well as bias and discrimination. 

Let’s start from the bottom. We need to encourage more young girls to explore STEM subjects by providing relevant, consistent opportunities in schools and communities and giving them access to resources that will help them decide if it’s a topic that interests them.  

Anderson continues: “Seeing women in leadership roles is crucial for women who want to pursue careers in these fields.”

As we move higher up the order, we should address workplace bias contributing to this divide. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we’ve yet to create working environments within the tech sector that fully cater to women’s needs. If we can master that, we can enjoy a much more diverse industry that produces better results. Here’s to all the wonderful women making a positive impact in tech!

it’s evident that the role of women in technology is not just pivotal but continually evolving. Despite the challenges and barriers that persist, the landscape is shifting. From the advent of generative AI to the increasing interest in traditionally male-dominated fields like STEM, women are increasingly asserting their presence and influence.

The findings of various surveys and studies highlight a growing interest among young women in pursuing careers in technology and related fields. This interest is not merely passive but driven by a desire to contribute, innovate, and shape the future. Furthermore, as technology continues to advance and integrate into every aspect of our lives, there’s a clear recognition among both women and men of the transformative potential of AI and other emerging technologies.

However, progress cannot be taken for granted. It requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders – from businesses and educational institutions to policymakers and society at large. Nurturing diversity, providing equitable access to opportunities, and fostering inclusive environments are essential steps towards harnessing the full potential of women in tech.

As we look ahead, let us remain committed to championing gender equality, celebrating women’s achievements in technology, and creating pathways for the next generation of female technologists to thrive. Together, we can build a future where women not only participate but lead in shaping the technological innovations that will define our collective tomorrow.

Silicon Head-to-Head Interview

Kelly Becker, President of Schneider Electric UK & Ireland.
Kelly Becker, President of Schneider Electric UK & Ireland.
Kelly Becker, President of Schneider Electric UK & Ireland.

Could you share some challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the tech industry and how you’ve overcome them?

“In the early days of my career, I was often the only woman in the room. This brought me great opportunities, but it wasn’t without its challenges.

“A classic barrier to women advancing in the tech sector is that they feel they have to be 100% qualified to do a job to go for it. But how rare is it that someone ticks all of the boxes?

“More than half of women (54%) have experienced imposter syndrome at some point in their career, compared to just 38% of men. For me, the most important thing was to never doubt my abilities, and to keep putting myself forward for every opportunity. You need to look at a role, see what you’ve got, and show what else you can bring that’s not on the list. I was never the logical pick for the last three jobs I’ve had, based on my skillset and background, but having that confidence and assertiveness helped me break through those barriers and succeed.”

Have you noticed any positive changes or initiatives within the tech industry to promote diversity and inclusion, specifically for women?

“More firms are taking note that business will perform better with diversity – but there is still a long way to go. Diversity needs to be imperative for business if we are to drive innovation and investment in the UK tech sector. It’s a fact that the best-performing companies in the FTSE 350 have more diverse leadership teams.

“Careful thinking and planning must continue to drive these initiatives, not just gender but also diversity of thought, experience, and background. The green economy is also opening up more career opportunities for women, particularly in technology and engineering roles.

“Organisations must create business frameworks that nurture female talent; and in this respect, Schneider Electric has a number of bold initiatives including diverse leadership, family leave, and pay equity – which has been recognised by the World Economic Forum.  

“As a business we are well above the industry standards for engineering and technology, and have an ambitious pledge for 50% of all new hires, 40% of frontline managers, and 30% of leadership roles to be held by women by 2025.”

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to pursue careers in the tech industry, considering its reputation for being challenging for women?

“For younger women starting out in a career in tech, see and believe that the world is your oyster. Never doubt your abilities or feel that you don’t belong in this sector. Always speak up for yourself and put your name forward for bigger roles if it feels like the right opportunity for you.  

“Finally, never shy away from asking for help – that’s been one of the most important takeaways in my career to date and I wouldn’t have reached the position I am in without it.”

How do you see the role of mentorship and sponsorship in supporting women’s advancement in tech?

“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of support and mentorship in my own career. Speak to people and groups, inside and outside your organisation, who will help you with personal development. That includes both male and female colleagues willing to offer support and advocacy. Take on every bit of feedback and strive to keep learning. You’ll soon find the right career opportunities that will help you flourish in the tech space.”  

Kelly has spent many years leading Schneider Electric’s business worldwide and is currently responsible for all operations within the UK and Ireland. Most recently, Kelly has also held the roles of Schneider Electric Country President in Ireland and Vice-President of the Power Solutions Division in the US.

During her experience, Kelly has led many Schneider functions across the globe with a strong focus on strategy and business execution. During her time in the US, Kelly led strategy and business development for Schneider’s $4B Partner Business, focusing on strategic growth and breakthrough initiatives, market and geographic expansions and internal start-ups. 

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