Author Archives: Ashley Kirk

7 most powerful and influential women in social media

mobile phone with social media icons

Written by Katerina Petropoulou

Women dominate social media platforms. According to Pew Research Center, women represent 77% of Facebook users in 2014, 21% of Twitter users, 29% of Instagram, 27% of LinkedIn, and a whopping 42% of Pinterest users.

But who are the female thought leaders in social media? We picked seven of the most powerful influencers to follow on Twitter for amazing social media marketing tips and insights. Take a look:

Ann Tran

Ann Tran is a social media marketing strategist, a travel writer with a unique approach to social media.

Pam Moore

Pam Moore is a social media influencer and the founder and CEO of a successful digital marketing agency. Her tweets are always insightful and provide excellent tips and how to’s based on her expertise.

Kim Garst

Kim Garst is a Twitter expert who always has excellent advice to tweet about social selling and managing social media.

Marsha Collier

Marsha Collier is the author of 48 books, focusing on social media commerce and online customer service.

Eve Mayer

Eve Mayer is the CEO of Social Media Delivered, a social media company focusing on consulting, training and social media management. Although ‘officially’ a LinkedIn queen, Eve Mayer covers all social media sharing tips and insights into different platforms.

Ann Handley

Ann Handley is the Head of Content at Marketing Profs a great source of social media marketing tips.

Pam Dyer

Pam Dyer is a leader in strategic marketing and a social media marketing blogger. Her tweets are always insightful, covering all the latest trends in social media management.

Now over to you! Which Social Media influencers do you keep in your radar? Tweet us at @ProjectAda_!

Article cross-posted from Twitter Counter

Featured image credit: Highways Agency

UK has one of the world’s largest gender gaps in science

map of europe gender gap in science education

The UK is failing to give British girls adequate education to compete against their male counterparts in science, according to new research.

A new OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report, which measures the performance of 15-year-olds, shows that the UK has one of the largest gender gaps in the world.

The gap between UK girls’ and boys’ results in science tests is 13 – with boys scoring a mean of 521 and compared to girls’ 508. This is compared with an average gap of just one across the 67 countries that took part in the tests.

The UK falls into the bottom five countries that took part in the Pisa tests – alongside Costa Rica and just above Colombia.

Where boys beat girls by the most

worst countries for gender gap in science education

In some countries, girls’ science results were higher than their male counterparts, providing hope for increased gender equality.

Jordan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates were at the top of the rankings – with a score difference of 43, 35 and 28 respectively. In Jordan, where girls beat boys by the highest margin, boys scored an average of 388 in Jordan. Girls, however, achieved 430.

Where girls beat boys by the most

best countries for gender gap in science education

Several countries achieved gender neutral results, where boys and girls scored similarly.

Girls beat boys by a mean of one in Macau, Uruguay, Israel, Singapore and Germany. Czech Republic, Chinese Taipei, Tunisia and Vietnam were similarly close, with boys performing slightly better than girls – by a single point.

“Not determined by innate differences in ability”

The results have raised concerns among experts that the education system is failing to provide girls with the training and support needed for future careers in science and technology industries.

Pisa has found that, in general, girls have higher expectations for their careers than boys; but on average, less than 5 per cent of girls contemplate pursuing a career in engineering and computing. In virtually all countries, the number of boys thinking of a career in computing or engineering exceeds the number of girls contemplating such a career.

In some of the top-performing countries and economies, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, girls perform on a par with their male classmates in mathematics and attain higher scores than all boys in most other countries around the world.

The organisation said of the findings:

These results strongly suggest that gender gaps in school performance are not determined by innate differences in ability. A concerted effort by parents, teachers, policy makers and opinion leaders is needed if both boys and girls are to be able to realise their full potential and contribute to the economic growth and well-being of their societies.

Cambridge and Oxford fail to attract female computer science students

cambridge university gender disparity

Less than one in five people enrolled on the UK’s top computer science programmes are female – and Oxford and Cambridge have fewer female computer science students than any other top university.

The technology industry is disproportionate from the educational level as it fails to attract females to enroll on its key courses, data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals.

The UK’s top ten computer science programmes are 84.55 per cent male – with the worst performing university having nine times as many men than women.

Gender balance on top computer science courses

Out of the UK’s best computer science courses, University College London has the most female students. Of its 355 students, 95 are female, accounting for just over one in four graduates.

The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford are the worst for gender representation in computer science, with 10 and 10.5 per cent female students respectively.

Featured image: The University of Cambridge, Richie

Less than 1 in 5 of UK top tech bosses are women

Canary Wharf | Photo: S nova

Top jobs in the UK’s technology firms are dominated by men, with over four times more men than women on their executive boards.

Just 18.3% of the board members on UK’s TECHmark companies are women, compared to 81.7% men, according to our analysis. Among FTSE 100 companies, 22.8% are women.

The TECHmark is a specific part of the London Stock Exchange for “specialist segments of the Main Market focusing on innovative technology”.

According to Bloomberg’s profile pages for the 60 companies, their boards have at least 533 men and 119 women on them. One fifth of the companies have no female board members at all.

This means that tech companies are performing worse than FTSE 100 companies.

A government report revealed that women’s representation on FTSE 100 boards was 22.8%. There are no male-only boards in the FTSE 100.

When announcing the report, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

British businesses must keep up the momentum and alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of those FTSE chairs who are not yet doing their bit to improve gender diversity.

13 of the 60 TECHmark companies had no female representation on their executive boards, including Triad BiomedicaGresham Computing and Oxford Biomedica.

Phoenix IT performed the best for female representation on its board, with a third of its bosses being women. BTG is next – with women comprising of 28.5% of its board.

Female representation on executive board

Tanya Cordrey: Progress for women in tech has stagnated

tanya_guardian

Tanya Cordrey, the Guardian‘s chief digital officer, is a leading figure in innovating the way we consume information online.

She’s in charge of engineering the Guardian’s digital product, using data analytics and testing labs to improve user experience.

One of the joys of working in digital media is that “you learn something almost every day,”  according to Cordrey. She emphasises the importance of “developing in the open,” with the launch of the Guardian‘s new website last Wednesday, stressing how essential it is to use tests to continually improve your product.

“Over the years I have become a complete evangelist around developing in the open – I’m a big believer that getting feedback and constantly learning from it is a really important process.”

tanya cordrey digital officer guardian observer

What’s the situation for women in tech?

Cordrey reflected on the “sad” reality that there are still many barriers for women looking to build a career in the technology industry.

“One can always think back on your career and there are probably several instances of things that have happened that I feel grieved about when I was treated a certain way because I was a woman.”

For example, when she had a child, her working hours shifted – coming in earlier in the morning, leaving at five to pick up her baby, and then working online after.

Colleagues had warned her that she was “putting my career on hold” while working fewer hours to look after her child. She said that leaving the office to pick up her daughter would be seen with disapproval:

There’s a kind of macho culture at the office of who can stay the latest

“What is more damaging and more pervasive is those constant everyday things: when you see women not getting invites to contribute as much; or women being described in different ways to men.

“If a man is described as ‘forthright’ or ‘decisive’, sometimes a woman can be described as ‘strident’ or ‘bossy’.

“It’s just that sort of underlying pervasiveness of it, not just in technology but in society overall.”

I’m not sure it’s got any better over the last few decades

On the working conditions for women in tech, she said that progress had stagnated. She described it as “sad”, adding: “I’m not sure it’s really got any better over the last few decades.”

Cordrey’s teenage daughter is coming up to the age where she starts looking for a job. “The truth is,” she said, “I’m not sure my daughter’s going to experience huge improvements being a woman entering society – because I’m not sure over the last twenty years, things have actually got that much better.”

When asked about why there are more male than female applicants for technological roles, Cordrey said that the “problem starts at a very young age”.

Her daughter has been to coding classes where, Cordrey thinks, she may have been the only girl.

There’s something going wrong at a very early age – where young girls are not being encouraged to do these activities

“There’s something going wrong at a very early age – where many young girls are not really drawn or being encouraged to do these activities. To help stop the problem we have to work when people are very young.”

guardian observer office kings place london

Photo: Bryantbob

So what can we do?

“I think that many people – both men and women – are doing a great job. They’re often humble and don’t think to stand up and be counted as a role model, but I would encourage all women who work in technology to take a deep breath and realise that they are role models.”

She would encourage them “to do what they can – put themselves forward to speak at conferences, put themselves forward to help organise events, put themselves forward to mentor younger women in the organisation or help with graduate recruitment programmes.”

I encourage all women who work in technology to take a deep breath and realise that they are role models

There are, of course, challenges with this – such as the “utterly depressing” abuse that women can get when they decide to be high profile on places such as Twitter.

She said it is also important to “give lots of support to the men you work with as well, because I know there are many men in the industry who are also despairing over the low numbers of women and are keen to address that.”

What does the future hold?

Looking forward to the future in digital media, Cordrey sees women playing a vital role.

It’s a “very exciting time” in the industry – with expansions in video, new forms of storytelling and user-focused innovations in design and interface.

Cordrey is confident that there will be greater equality for women in tech in the future. She is sure that women will be playing a “really important part” in tackling “all of these wonderful challenges ahead of us”.

Women in tech: the best posts of 2014

2014

As the year draws to a close, we’ve gathered some of the year’s best posts on sexism, gender equality and diversity in the technology industry.

Some celebrate role models and advances that have been made, others point out glaring cases of sexism in the industry. So, from #gamergate to tech giants’ diversity figures, here’s how we’ll remember 2014.

Why aren’t there more women in mobile tech?

Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA, wrote an article for CNN about the mobile technology industry. In it, she calls for more mobile women – saying that we need to make women in tech the norm, rather than the exception.

As we collectively strive to connect the next one billion users and stimulate the positive change that the mobile internet brings, we must ensure that women will be included in this upsurge.

 

Why female representation matters

In March, the Guardian‘s Aleks Krotoski told us why female representation matters.

Technology companies build products that help us make sense of the world. How can they do this without input from 52% of the world’s population?

The question in Krotoski’s subheading speaks for itself. The fact that girls achieve better grades that boys in GCSE and A level Maths and Computer Science, and yet drop out of the subjects to leave 82% men in higher education classes, begs belief.

In Defense of Women in Tech Groups

This article posted on Geek Feminism in March effectively mythbusts some common arguments against WIT groups. So next time someone tells you they aren’t necessary, point them in this direction. The author makes a clear case for why women in tech groups are essential, not least for networking and for finding role models.

Do you know how you go about combating stereotype threat for women? Logic dictates—and now a study shows—that female role models are essential. So, there it is: female-dominated classrooms, with female instructors, are an obvious win, for women learning technology concepts.

A Brightening Outlook?

On International Women’s Day, Forbes hosted an article talking about the “emerging opportunities” for women looking to develop in technology.

Leo King reported on several high-profile technology figures speaking at an event. While they warned that there is still a shocking lack of representation of women within the industry, they spoke of clear signs of improvement in the opportunities available.

They called for, among other things, an expansion of the opportunities out there for women in tech to advance their career – especially by focusing on education in developing countries.

It is in the interests of companies and governments to help women advance in the technology industry, [a vice president of Intel, Bernadette] Andrietti says: “Women offer a fresh perspective on product design, ways of working, risk-taking and many other aspects of business.”

 

No progress on inequality for 10 years

The Guardian‘s report in May highlighted just how far we’ve yet to go in securing a fair role for women in technology. The figures made for depressing reading.

The percentage of women taking the role has remained largely static at 14% since 2004, when the firm started gender analysis.

At the bottom, the article lists many organisations in the UK dedicated to helping recruit and retain more women in technology.

The Most Powerful Women in Tech in 2014

Forbes’ list on the most “powerful” women in tech gives us some role models within the industry.

The list is taken from a wider one of the world’s most powerful women in general – on this list, the highest from a tech company is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and the first female member of its board of directors.

In 2013, Sandberg released Lean In, a book encouraging women to materialise their professional goals by leaning into their ambitions.

Google’s Diversity Report

google diversity report representation gender technology

When Google published its diversity figures early this summer, a whole slew of tech giants followed suit, sparking a debate about the lack of gender and ethnic diversity in tech roles. The reports showed that barely 2 in 10 tech employees are women, and as Google put it themselves, getting these figures straight is an important first step to making a change.

We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity. And it is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.

It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

This post on TechCrunch, published in August, argued that getting women into technology industries was a “trapdoor problem” as much as a “pipeline problem”.

The trapdoor problem is one we can collectively work on without having to wait for a new generation to filter through; and the first step towards solving any problem is admitting that it exists.

Jon Evans said that it’s unacceptable that people “turn a blind eye” to the fact that so many women are dropping out of technology-based jobs once they’re in one. He cites a 2008 Harvard Business Review report, which found that “between ages 25 and 30, 41% of the young talent with credentials in those subject matters are female … [but] 52% of this talent drops out”.

What it’s really like for women in tech

In September, Gwen Moran told a great story which she introduced by saying “it’s a pretty safe bet that no male CEOs could match this”.

In the piece, Heidi Roizen, cofounder and CEO of T/Maker, tells of how she was sexually assaulted by a company executive at a celebration dinner in San Francisco.

“One of the most responsive audiences has been men who have daughters who are entering the workforce,” Roizen says. “It would never occur to them that something like this would happen. When they hear these stories, it helps them be more aware and, when women come to them with these stories, to take them more seriously.”

Why Gamergaters piss me the f*** off

We know. We could make this entire list, or this entire site, about posts on the #gamergate controversy, but heck, who has the energy? However, Chris Kluwe’s open letter is an incensed tirade against gamergaters that actually made me laugh despite having thought that I never wanted to read about the topic again.

You’re ignorant. You are a blithering collection of wannabe Wikipedia philosophers, drunk on your own buzzwords, incapable of forming an original thought. You display a lack of knowledge stunning in its scope, a fundamental disregard of history and human nature so pronounced that makes me wonder if lead paint is a key component of your diet.

When Women Stopped Coding

women computer science coding

This piece from NPR was published in October, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t get around to reading it until the other week. It’s a fascinating article that explores why the percentage of women in computer science dropped so sharply in the 1980s.

These early personal computers weren’t much more than toys. You could play pong or simple shooting games, maybe do some word processing. And these toys were marketed almost entirely to men and boys. This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the computing revolution. It helped define who geeks were, and it created techie culture.

Women in tech earn less than men: Here’s one reason why

Fortune published some great data on the pay gap in Silicon Valley in November.

In it, they explore how women are – unsurprisingly – still paid significantly less than men to do the same job. However, on top of this, the report shows how women also ask for less than men at an interview stage. This is a significant issue in the mentality of people within the industry which needs addressing.

women technology sector curvery pay gap sexism gender split

Survey: Women ‘belittled, underappreciated and underpaid’ in tech industry

The Guardian’s survey of women’s experience of working in the tech sector was published in November and makes for some depressing reading: 73% of tech employees consider the industry sexist. 52% say women get paid less for the same job. But the reports of cultural sexism are among the most shocking.

The gender split was 90% male, 10% female. I was hit on by almost every man I met, and felt like a novelty to the point where I ate lunch in a room on my own to avoid repeated awkward conversations.

Why women are leaving the tech industry in droves

December saw Sue Gardner write an op-ed piece about the important issue of  women leaving the tech industry.

In it, she makes several points which are hard to describe as anything but common sense. Over time, she says, women are ground down by a perfect storm of hostility, demeaning attitudes and condescension. Women in tech are often subject to sexual harassment and have few female role models to look up to – why would the industry seem like a good place in which to work?

If you’re a tech executive, you want your available workforce to be as big and varied as possible. In that context a rational industry would shut down overt misogyny because in addition to being morally repugnant, it’s terrible for business. It would aim to provide the same things for female workers that it does for male ones: an enjoyable culture, competitive pay and challenging work.

 

Have you got any other ideas for great articles in 2014? Tweet us @ProjectAda_ and we’ll add them to the list!

Written by  Clara Guibourg and Ashley Kirk

Everyday Sexism’s Laura Bates on the “varied” abuse women face online

Laura Bates addresses the audience of A Web for Her | Credit: Keila Guimarães

Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism, has been a prominent campaigner for diversity and equality in the technology industry. Because of this, she has also seen her fair share of online abuse.

She was part of a panel discussion at South Bank’s Web We Want Festival, called A Web For Her. It asks a simple question: what would the Web look like if it was run by women?

After the event, we caught up with Laura to ask her why it’s important to have true online equality.

She said that she’s been the victim of a lot of online abuse, and claimed that “abuse is much more varied than people realise.”

It varies from discounting women’s articles, getting abusive comments instead of constructive arguments, and being less likely to be retweeted and followed on Twitter.

“It goes all the way up the spectrum to really serious abuse. A lot of the stuff that I get falls into a middle-ground category, where I don’t think I should report it to the police, but it still completely refuses to see you as a human being”.

Women in communities

With this in mind, I asked Laura why it’s still important that she risks such abuse and threats by going out there on online communities.

The panel discussion focused on the the fact that there’s a lot animosity towards women within within the technology industry, and asked how we can persuade women to challenge and overcome such resistance.

The advantages of women in tech

I asked Laura afterwards what the advantages would be once this has been achieved. As she said in the event, “no matter how anti-feminist you are, you cannot believe that the statistics represent a true indication of where talent lies.”

Advice for women in tech

If you were to give a woman aiming to start a tech-related career or project, what would the one piece of advice be?

Laura’s answer was immediate: network. She urged women to get together with like-minded people to improve the industry towards a more progressive future.

As it happened: What would the web look like if it was run by women?

WebWeWant

Ashley, Keila and Sam brought you live coverage of A Web For Her, an event that asked a simple question: What would the web look like if it was run by women?

Live Blog A Web For Her
 

The topics we’re talking about on #womenintech

women in tech word cloud

Mapping the month’s Tweets on #womenintech gives us a great insight into the key issues and concerns for women within the technology industry.

hashtag women in technology word cloud visualisation

Newtech, computing and hackathons are all words which – unsurprisingly – feature often on the hashtag.

@Stemettes has a big presence on the hashtag. It’s a group showing that “science, technology, engineering and maths are for girls”. @Hackbright, a women’s academy for software development, also dominates the hashtag.

Our namesake, Ada, also makes a presence within the #womenintech noise on the Twittersphere.

The following word cloud shows the key words in a Twitter search for the general phrase ‘women in tech’.

women in technology word cloud visualisation

This throws up some potentially more interesting words. First of all is the very timely #Gamergate controversy, which has been generating lots of comments throughout Twitter since August.

Alongside ‘data’, another key word is ‘startup’, showing that there’s a proactive sense of innovation within the community. There is also a key emphasis on ‘work’ and ‘campaigns’, reflecting the amount of activity within the women in tech scene.

A general theme across both word clouds is optimism and enthusiasm. Words such as ‘interesting’, ‘amazing’ and ‘talented’ reflect the positive attitude within the community to create positive social change and technological innovation within the industry.