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Sisters are doing it for themselves!

When somebody brings up the subject of somebody working in IT, most people conjure up one of two images in their minds.

The first image is of a pimple-faced nerd sitting in a dark room where all the walls are bedecked by computer screens. He wears his pants high on his waist and he wears a checked collared button-down shirt that has a pen holder in its breast pocket.

The second image is of an equally nerd like individual that resembles Sheldon Cooper or Leonard Hofstadter from the Big Bang Theory.

None of these images are of the female variety. It is safe to say that the perception of the IT world is that it is very much a male dominated industry.

While this may have been true in the past, there is a significant movement towards improving the representation of females in the industry. This post is about profiling these ladies. GIRL POWER!

A significant increase
According to an article on the pressandjournal.co.uk website, the number of women entering into the IT industry is increasing significantly.

The article points out that new research has revealed the number of females joining the technology sector has risen by more than 30%.

Analysis of the most recent ONS Annual Population Survey shows the number of women in tech has risen from 18% to 23.4% in the last two years.

And the figure has more than doubled in the last eight, rising from 10 300 women working in tech in 2010, up to 24 000 in 2018.

The article adds that Skills Development Scotland (SDS) announced the news on Ada Lovelace Day, a global celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths, which is named after the woman acknowledged as being the world’s first computer programmer.

Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at SDS, spoke on the results.

“Industry, government, educationalists and charity organisations have all been working together to try to address the gender imbalance, and our concerted efforts are starting bear digital fruit,” she told pressandjournal.co.uk.

Start at schools
Mentoring in schools; the introduction of digital skills into broader subjects such as languages, art and music; best practice guides and tool kits for employers, and a real focus by colleges and universities to address the gender gap were all cited as reasons for the positive trend.

However, Gillespie believes much more still needs to be done. “Complacency will be the enemy of progress ,” she added.

“The last thing we need is to take three steps forward and two steps back when tackling this very real and problematic issue.

“We look forward to continuing our work with organisations like Girl Geek Scotland, Education Scotland, Equate, Scottish Government, ScotlandIS and of course the wider industry to help fill the 13 000 digital vacancies that exist in Scotland every year,” she told pressandjournal.co.uk.

The article added that specific diversity plans in the coming year include a big push on mentoring and case studies; working in partnership with the charity sector to target young females, and the continued promotion and creation of digital apprenticeships.

Top of the pops

Every year, Forbes releases a list of the Top 50 women in tech.

This year, the list included some heavy hitters. The following profiles were taken from the frobes.com website and can be accessed by using the following link: https://www.forbes.com/top-tech-women/#500f7a734df0

Zoe Adamovicz
Cofounder and CEO, Neufund
In 2016, Zoe Adamovicz cofounded Neufund a blockchain-based platform for investors which has raised $14 million to date. This year Adamovicz also cofounded blockchain platform Founders Bank.

Adamovicz advises the German and Maltese governments and sits on the Innovation Board advising the Minister of Digitalization in Germany.

The entrepreneur has held positions at Deloitte, Fox Entertainment Group, and the Nasdaq-listed Digital Turbine Inc. Adamovicz studied computer engineering, cultural science and informatics at university.

Jasmine Anteunis
VP Product and Cofounder, Recast.AI
Jasmine Anteunis founded her artificially intelligent chatbot company Recast.AI in 2015. It was this year acquired by software giant SAP. Anteunis remains CEO at Recast.AI.

Recast.AI serves more than 20 high-profile customers including telecoms company SFR, construction group Bouygues and French rail firm SNCF.

Chantelle Bell
Cofounder, Syrona Women
Chantelle Bell cofounded Syrona Women with fellow female founder Anya Roy while the pair were studying Bioscience at Cambridge University.

The duo have developed a pregnancy-test like device that allows women to test themselves for cervical cancer at home.

Syrona has won awards from bodies including AccelerateHER Scotland, Tata and Bethnal Green Ventures.

Bell and Roy have led talks at Cambridge Wireless UK and the prestigious MEDICA conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The startup has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to date.

Galia Benartzi
Cofounder, Business Development, Bancor
Galia Benartzi cofounded a cryptocurrency conversion company Bancor in 2017. Bancor last year raised $153 million through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Bancor has processed a billion and a half of conversions across 120 Ethereum-based currencies to date. This year Bancor was rocked by a $13.5 million hack which motivated Benartzi to forge the Crypto Defenders Alliance.

Benartzi previously exited two tech startups, selling Mytopia to gaming giant 888 for $48 million dollars and Particle Code to Appcelerator.

Elina Berglund
Natural Cycles
Swedish engineering physicist Elina Berglund completed her PhD at CERN where she was searching for the elusive Higgs boson particle. After its discovery in 2012, Berglund turned her attention to family life and sought to find an alternative to the contraceptive pill.

Berglund created an algorithm to identify the fertile window in a woman’s cycle and cofounded fertility tracking app Natural Cycles in 2013.

Natural Cycles is now used by more than 900,000 people in more than 200 countries.

It has raised $37.5 million to date.

Sue Black
Founder, #techmums
Sue Black is the founder of #techmums, a charity which empowers mothers through online and offline classes covering technology basics. This year Black partnered with Facebook to launch #techmumsTV, a web series which attracted 300k viewers and won a coveted BIMA Award.

A computer scientist, Black is known for her campaign to save Bletchley Park (once home to the World War Two Codebreakers).

Black went on to publish a book about the Bletchley Park campaign which became the fastest crowdfunded book of all time.

Today Black is a Government Advisor, an associate at the all-female tech consultancy DSRPTN, and a mentor at Google Campus for Mums.

Anne Boden
Founder and CEO, Starling
Anne Boden is founder and CEO at Starling, the mobile banking app used by 100,000 British customers.

The Welsh entrepreneur previously held a string of top financial positions including Head of EMEA at RBS and COO at Allied Irish Bank.

Boden has raised more than $190 million for her fintech startup.

Boden sits on the FinTech Delivery Panel for UK tech network Tech Nation and speaks at key industry events like Money20/20 and Wealth 2.0.

Boden this year received an MBE for services to FinTech.

Loubna Bouarfa
Founder and CEO, Okra Technologies
This year Bouarfa closed a $4.2 million Series A round.

In November 2018 she will present how Okra tools can better match children to foster carers at the ISPOR health conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Bouarfa also holds a PhD in Machine Learning applied to Healthcare.

Bouarfa holds a number of advisory positions and is a member of the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group for Artificial Intelligence.

Francesca Bria
Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer, Barcelona
Francesca Bria is the Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer for Barcelona, Spain, where she’s led numerous pan-European projects.

Bria currently leads DECODE-this uses decentralized technologies (like the blockchain) to help citizens better control their data.

One pilot invites citizens to share data they’ve collected on noise quality and air pollution using smart devices.

The leader is also piloting a democratic hub which allows citizens to sign petitions and vote online.

Bria previously led D-CENT, the pan-European project which saw cryptocurrencies piloted in Iceland, Spain and Helsinki.

Emily Brooke
Founder and CEO, Beryl.cc
British product designer Emily Brooke crowdfunded her first product in 2012-a laser light designed to make cyclists more visible on roads.

Brooke’s company Beryl (formerly Blaze) has since raised $15.5 million.

Beryl not only sells its patented Laserlights to customers around the world but has cycle-scheme partnerships in London and New York.

It is also pioneering its own smart-bike technology to collect data on cities.

Brooke was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to Transport and to the Economy.

Across the pond
While the majority of the ladies from the above list live in the US, the UK IT industry is equally vibrant and is filled with its own calibre of ambitious women.

The following profiles were taken from businessinsider.com and can be accessed using the following link: https://www.businessinsider.com/coolest-women-in-uk-tech-2018?IR=T#3-dr-anne-marie-imafidon-the-computing-prodigy-championing-women-in-stem-36

Maria Raga
 Depop calls itself the “creative community’s mobile marketplace.” In other words, it’s a trendy website and app for selling clothes and other fashion items.

In charge is Maria Raga, an executive who studied at the University of Valencia before going on to work at Bain, Brazilian ecommerce site Privalia, and GroupOn. She replaced founder Simon Beckerman in 2016, who now works as creative director — “she’s able to download my brain and make it a bit more structured,” he said in an interview.

In January 2018, the London company landed $20 million to expand to the US, and is also opening physical stores in New York and Los Angeles.

Total amount raised: $43.6 (£33.4 million)

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon
Anne-Marie Imafidon passed A-Level computing aged 11, and at 28 she’s no less of a trailblazer.

She founded the social initiative Stemettes in 2013, which aims to get girls and women into science, technology, engineering, and maths.

In March, on International Women’s Day, Stemettes was visited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Later that month, Imafidon interviewed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the British Library.

With the advent of the feminist #MeToo movement, and the distinctly male and monochromatic diversity problem in tech, her message is more pertinent than ever.

Joanna Shields
Joanna Shields is one of the most prominent figures in British tech, having run Facebook in Europe and then joining the government as its first internet safety minister.

She returned to the industry in May 2018 as group chief executive of BenevolentAI, a futuristic startup that uses artificial intelligence to aid drug development.

Total amount raised:£157 million

Dame Natalie Massenet
Natalie Massenet has stuck to her 2015 promise to keep a low-profile after stepping down from Net-a-Porter, but she’s active behind the scenes with her new investment firm, Imaginary Ventures.

She has teamed up with investor Nick Brown to raise $75 million to invest in beauty and fashion startups, kicking off with beauty brand Glossier and hair-loss prevention firm Keeps.

Total amount raised: $75 million (£57.6 million)

Carole Cadwalladr
Christopher Wylie blew the whistle on Facebook’s data breach, but it was Carole Cadwalladr’s tenacious reporting that got him to a position where he was comfortable telling his story.

The freelance Observer journalist has since become a vocal thorn in Facebook’s side and an ally to those investigating the company and its connection to Cambridge Analytica.

Jay Hunt
Apple made a real statement about its content ambitions in hiring Jay Hunt late last year. She is a titan of the British TV industry — a former chief creative officer at Channel 4 with a nose for ideas that have seen her launch shows like “Black Mirror” and “Sherlock.”

Exceptionally well-networked, her presence will put Apple one step ahead of Netflix and Amazon in the battle for ideas and talent in Britain, which is the second biggest exporter of TV shows in the world.

It seems as if the sisters are doing it for themselves!

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