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Meet 7 of Londons standout female tech stars

Posted By on September 16, 2016 in Tech | 0 comments

Meet 7 of Londons standout female tech stars

The tech space has stereotypically been headed up by men. From Steve Jobs to Elon Musk, youll find a male stamp permeating the pages of the tech revolution tale. But women have always been on the scene, perhaps now more than ever. One place where the XX chromosome is ascending rapidly through the ranks is in the UK.

As a major player in the technology scene, London is home to some of the brightest young tech talent on the planet. Thanks to a hive of startup activity and constant evolution, theres no place like the Big Smoke to find emerging female techies.

Here are seven of the brightest up-and-coming tech talents to watch.

1. Holly Brockwell

Gadgette is an online publication that speaks to techie women as equals. Editor-in-chief Holly Brockwell heads up the magazine for the queens of the drone age, having written about gadgetry for the better part of a decade prior. Whilst working on two iPhone launches, an array of tech brands and two mobile networks, Brockwell scooped an award for Best Use of Technology, and today continues to share her techie knowledge with the online world, armoured by a strong team of female contemporaries.

How do you think the industry is changing and diversifying as a result of the rise in female tech talent?

‘Women in tech’ seems to be considered a recent concept, a feminist campaign to shoehorn some female agenda into male-dominated spaces. But actually, women were there right at the birth of the tech industry, writing programs, cracking codes and even putting humans on the moon. It’s just that women’s contributions are often forgotten by history maybe because we’re often too busy doing the work to shout about it!

Now, finally, women in tech are being recognised and valued as they should be. I’m immensely proud to be part of the London tech community, which is one of the best in the world for supporting and fostering female talent. There are so many women here that I admire and I can’t wait to see the next generation they inspire to join our ranks.

2. Emily Atkinson

Software engineer Emily Atkinson is currently sharing her wealth of technical knowledge with the female world as both managing director at DevelopHer (formerly Girls In Tech) and as a software engineer at MOO. DevelopHer is an initiative run entirely by volunteers that aims to provide support, education and empowerment to aspiring women in the tech space.

How has the tech space changed and diversified in London?

My experience in the tech community has been incredibly positive and in the last five years in London it feels increasingly welcoming and supportive. There are a wealth of events and programmes out there trying to support a diverse tech ecosystem. When we started Girls in Tech UK (now DevelopHer) four years ago the aim was to build up a friendly, supportive network, to highlight women doing brilliant things and to encourage everyone to pursue their goals without gender being a concerning factor. That’s still our aim, but we now also look to keep that diversity flourishing by supporting women through mentoring and learning events.

3. Amali de Alwis

In her capacity as CEO of Code First:Girls, Amali de Alwis and her team help young women develop and hone their technical skills to further advance themselves in this male-dominated space. The aim is simple: Get more women into tech. De Alwis and her team run coding courses and career development events, while providing invaluable mentoring and advice to aspiring female techies.

How do you think the industry is changing and diversifying as a result of the rise in female tech talent?

The great thing about increasing diversity in tech is that you open the industry to new ideas and the creation of better products and services. Technological innovation drives growth in almost every industry these days, with many companies spending significant money on R&D and trying to understand their customers better. The easiest way to achieve this is to hire diversely. When you bring in talented people who help you develop more insightful products and services, you create more resilient companies.

And particularly with the increasing demand for tech talent, increasing diversity helps our businesses to continue to grow and be globally competitive, whilst supporting talented individuals to have challenging, inspiring and rewarding careers.

4. Kaitlyn Hova

Self proclaimed entrepre-nerd Kaitlyn Hova lives a double life. From the right side of her brain comes the violinist, artist and blogger, while the left side is kept occupied by web development, neuroscience and all-round entrepre-nerdship. Hova is now a senior UX developer for Women Who Code, an initiative dedicated to helping aspiring women in tech build the careers they want. Women Who Code work worldwide with the goal of creating an inclusive global tech community and Hova and team have connected more than 80,000 women worldwide and counting.

How do you think the industry is changing and diversifying as a result of the rise in female tech talent?

Technology isnt a sector, its found at the cutting edge of every field. Just like women.

If youre never done learning then youre never done growing.Beating the odds is a lot more likely when people dont know the end of your potential.

There is enough goodness in the world to go around.Invest in yourself and your team, and together you can build anything.

5. Robyn Exton

Robyn Exton, creator of the HER, the dating app for lesbian and bisexual women, Robyn Exton has risen to become one of Londons most celebrated women in tech over the past three years. Frustrated with gay dating apps that were designed for men and then turned pink, Exton set out to build her own dating app. HER now has more than 1 million users worldwide. Shes also part of GeekGirl Meetup UK, which provides aspiring women in tech with an avenue into the industry.

How do you think the industry is changing and diversifying as a result of the rise in female tech talent?

London has one of the best communities for women in tech I have ever seen. From Geek Girl Meetup to Ladies Who Code to Stemettes, there are so many incredible people and networks to become a part of, dramatically more than San Francisco.

I think there are great opportunities being a woman in tech, seeing markets and problems from a completely different perspective to a lot of the incumbents. You have to have incredibly thick skin and strong determination, but the upsides to being a part of this scene and community are huge.

6. Elizabeth Varley

As both the founder and CEO of TechHub, Elizabeth has more than established herself as a techie force to be reckoned with. TechHub an organization that currently helps grow 750 tech businesses worldwide has a presence in seven global cities, including London. Elizabeth has won an assortment of awards for her work in the tech industry, including a spot on Cosmopolitans Fierce 40 Under 40s, and is a regular speaker at some of techs most high-profile events.

What comments do you have on the emergence of the ‘women in tech’ discourse?

It’s important that everyone is included in conversations and approaches to increasing diversity. This isn’t just about talking to women about getting more women into technology; gender equality and diversity more generally are not ‘women’s issues,’ they’re ‘social issues.’ The same reasons are at play when we have fewer women CEOs, scientists and technologists, as there are when we have fewer male primary teachers, nurses and stay-at-home dads.

Until we stop socially encouraging or discouraging people from making choices about play, books, toys and clothes as children (and beyond), and making choices about study, recreation, partners and jobs all based on what they have in their pants, we’re going to have unhappy and stigmatised people. Jobs based on which genitals you have have you ever heard of anything more preposterous?

The way I see more women (and it’s important we don’t forget about other non-cismale genders) being more involved in technology in London and beyond is when women are asked more than just questions about ‘women in tech issues’ by event organisers or journalists. The best way to highlight women and others as successful business people is to ask them about business issues or technology trends or something else women do, not just look at who we are.

7. Sue Black

Dr. Sue Black OBE is a techie butterfly. She counts roles such as technology evangelist, international keynote speaker, digital skills expert and social entrepreneur among her bread and butter, as well as being the founder of the UK’s first online network for women in tech: BCSWomen. Sue has also found time to found #techmums, empowering mothers and their families to join the tech community and develop their digital skillset.

What comments do you have on the emergence of the ‘women in tech’ discourse?

The women in tech movement in London is so dramatically different to how it was in 1993 when I graduated. I was keen to meet others working in computing or IT (as it was called then) so I joined the committee London branch of the British Computer Society BCS. I used to go to tech talks in London, there were very few women there, maybe one or two in an audience of 35 or 40 people. Sometimes the speaker would make sexist remarks and I would sit there feeling angry and depressed not knowing what to do or say about it.

It is wonderful to see the myriad of women tech groups in London from generalist groups like Girl Geeks and Ada’s list to groups with a more specific focus like Rails Girls and . There is so much support for women in tech, it’s fabulous! But we are not there yet. We still need more women in the tech industry especially at higher levels and more women tech entrepreneurs getting funded. I know so many fabulous, talented women that should be even more successful than they are, we have a way to go yet…

To me, being a woman in tech means being part of an exciting future. Technology is our future. It enables us to bring people together from across the world to come up with creative solutions to the world’s problems. There is no more exciting place to be.