We had 12 fab pitches from 12 awesome women led startups in front of an large audience of VCs, tech industry, startups, tech academics and others.
I was honoured to speak on a panel this afternoon at Portcullis House. Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah chaired an interesting discussion on women in tech which ranged from getting girls coding, to Ada Lovelace, to the digital revolution and a quick reference to Gamergate.
My main points were around the fact that we are now living in a global marketplace. Trade is no longer hampered by geographical boundaries as it has been previously. Most people in the UK are not digitally literate in a 2014 way, we are behind the times. There are so many people unemployed, that with just a small amount of training could get jobs using basic 2014 digital literacy. The government needs to put more resource into this area.
There is a big focus on getting girls coding which is great and needs to happen, but we need more urgently to consider how to plug the leaky pipeline of women leaving the tech industry mid career. We also need to create a corporate culture that welcomes tech savvy women back into the workforce. Too many talented tech women I know have left tech never to return, its such a waste.
Corporates need to make their workplaces more female friendly and be proactive in bringing in more women. There are many ways this can be done, and as has been shown previously this can make companies more profitable. Diversity means strength in so many ways.
I didn’t mention quotas of women on boards, but I think the time is right now to make this happen, change is not happening quickly enough for any real impact to be felt. Equal pay is something else that needs to be sorted out. We will never get anywhere until these issues are resolved.
The main thing we need to do is to take ACTION as a country. The UK if we get our act together has an opportunity to lead in the digital revolution as we did in the industrial revolution. But we need to move quickly and decisively. Our workforce needs to be upskilled, made tech smart, this is a mammoth but not impossible task. Let’s get started now otherwise we will be looking back in a few years time saying, if only we had acted more quickly….
As it is half term I took my 10 year old daughter along with me. We left a bit early so we could go and buy a pumpkin for her to carve for Halloween. Having children makes you think about the future in a different way. I don’t want my daughters to have lower pay than their male peers, I don’t want them to see their friends taking a break from work to have children, then finding it impossible to get back into work. I don’t want to see them struggling to make sense of a narrow minded and chauvinistic workplace.
We need to change our country now to make equality of opportunity a reality, if we do that and prepare our workforce for the digital age, we will have a fighting chance of being a world leading country into the future. If we don’t I hate to think what will happen. Standards of living will drop, a brain drain will occur, big contracts will go to other countries, individuals will become disenfranchised, it won’t be fun.
Millions of people have fought in wars and worked hard to make this country succesful, let’s not throw all that sacrifice away now because we are too slow to respond to change that’s obviously going to happen, and is in fact happening right now. Britain is a great country, I’m proud to be a part of it, let’s keep it that way. Making sure our people, our families and our companies keep up with the digital revolution means that all that sacrifice was worthwhile, we owe it to our ancestors and to our children. We’ve a short window of opportunity, let’s take ACTION and build a great future for us all.
Thanks very much to Business Insider for including me in an awesome line up of women in their “Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter 2014”. I came in at number 35 and am in very prestigious and truly awesome company, with many great friends also on the list. Check out the top 100 compiled with help from Peer Index.
** I went back to school aged 26, even I didn’t manage to have three kids and get divorced by the age of 20 😉
Yesterday was an awesome day. I was voted 9th most influential woman in tech by Computer Weekly in the afternoon and we won the Nominet Internet Award for the best Online Skills and Training company in the evening.
There are so many great women on the Computer Weekly list, do check them all out. Dame Wendy Hall was rightly voted most influential woman, with the awesome tech pioneer Dame Steve Shirley in second place. Great also to see MP Chi Onwurah placed and several BCSWomen including the wonderful Hannah Dee 🙂
The Nominet Internet Awards in the evening were awesome too. So lovely for #techmums to win our award and great that our fellow BGV alumni WriteLaTeX won an award too. Great hosting by Kate Russell as always.
This Monday I and 349 other techies went to a wonderful event for tech entrepreneurs hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace. It was an absolutely awesome evening, I caught up with lots of fab friends, made lots of new friends and also had lots of lovely chats with people who are fans of Bletchley Park, BCSWomen and women in tech. A real night to remember, and thank goodness there are pics to prove it otherwise I’d be in danger of thinking it was all a dream….
Today has been a great day, and it’s not 1pm yet.
After a lovely family meal at Mai Sushi near Euston station to celebrate my youngest daughter’s 10th birthday, I travelled up to Manchester last night arriving around 11pm at the Holiday Inn Media City.
I was a bit nervous about being on Breakfast Time in the morning, but after chatting to friends online and prepping fo the morning managed to get to sleep around 1am.
I woke up at 6am, got ready and walked over to the studios. Aimee Pye and Will Gardener were also guests this morning, so we all got taken up to the green room together.
I was on first so went straight into makeup and then down to the studio.
Today is Safer Internet Day 2014, I followed a video about sexting. I was asked something like how to control childrens’ behaviour online.
I think that “control” is completely the wrong attitude. The best way to approach kids being safe online is to think about it like teaching your child to be streetwise. You don’t tell your children that they will never be allowed out alone. Its all about building up a dialogue and relationship with your kids where you can discuss any issues openly. Communication and education are key.
That’s one of the reasons I set up #techmums. #techmums is all about getting mums tech savvy, from app and web design to social media and online security to coding in Python on Raspberry Pis. Getting mums up to speed with technology ultimately helps not just them but everyone around them too. Mums who are confident and excited about tech will produce kids who are savvier and safer.
Safer Internet Day is a great initiative, great to focus eveyone’s minds on keeping safe online. Mums have a great role to play in that and savvy #techmums can play an important role in giving our kids a safer future.