International Women’s Day 2023: celebrating women working in tech
By Danny Ward
T he theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity – with the campaign aiming to ‘get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough.’
Organisers of the global celebration are calling on people to challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias and seek out inclusion across multiple sectors, including in the technology industry.
As specialists in B2B tech PR, we work with women across all areas of tech – so we asked our clients to explain who or what inspires them in their roles. Here we share some of their personal stories, including a few thoughts from our co-founder, Xanthe:
Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto: Over the years I have had the privilege of working alongside some great women and female leaders, and I have always been made to feel that nothing is out of my reach. A career in marketing means that any sector and industry is a possibility, and so I jumped at the chance to move into the fintech space when my role at Zuto came up.
Working in a tech company brings a completely different culture and way of working – fast paced, innovative and dynamic; always thinking about how we can use data and technology to solve problems for our customers and the eco-system in which we operate.
I have always been made to feel that nothing is out of my reach.Lucy Sherliker Head of Customer, Zuto
Victoria Heyward, Director of Brand and Content Strategy at Sopro: My background is creative (fine art), but I spent the early part of my career searching for a way to use these skills in an environment that felt more cutting edge than what I’d (naively) perceived the traditional arts/creative path to be.
My journey into tech started in the digital recruitment space around 14 years ago, which led me to speak with web developers, app developers and designers and visit creative and tech agencies. From here it all changed. I knew I was meant to be IN one of these agencies, not recruit for it – so I took the leap and joined one, working my way up through the ranks and absorbing everything along the way. I saw tech as the creative future for me – and it’s definitely lived up to those expectations.
I saw tech as the creative future for me - and it's definitely lived up to those expectations.Victoria Heyward Director of Brand and Content Strategy, Sopro
Kristin Hodgkinson, Senior Channel Marketing Manager at Lytx: I’ve always been curious about how things work since I was a child. As a toddler, I would take apart my toy turtle just to see what was inside. When I went to university, I studied a BSc in Multimedia Technology because I was fascinated by computers, media and digital production. And, I must admit, I love spreadsheets… I’m that girl! I guess I have a natural affinity towards technology, and working at Lytx brings together my passion for technology and motor vehicles in a socially responsible way through saving lives.
I have a natural affinity towards technology and working at Lytx brings together my passion for technology and motor vehicles in a socially responsible way.Kristin Hodgkinson Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Lytx
Delphine Gatignol, Business Unit Director at Newsback: I’m curious about how things work, how innovation can transform people’s lives and solve issues. The constant innovation in tech allows me to work on different topics and address new challenges hence the appeal for an ever changing and vibrant work environment.
I don’t necessarily look up to women in tech although there are obviously some impressive profiles. Maybe because I feel that success in tech shouldn’t be a gender question. When I think of a strong inspiring woman, I think about Simone Veil, a French politician. She’s been through deportation camps in WW2 during her teens and suffered terrible losses in her family. Her resilience in politics to have the right for abortion voted in the 70’s in France and her commitment to then lead the European parliament to secure peace in Europe is inspirational.
I'm curious about how things work, how innovation can transform people's lives and solve issues.Delphine Gatignol Business Unit Director, Newsback
Xanthe Vaughan Williams, Director and Co-Founder of Fourth Day: I grew up in the 1970s, when technology seemed the most glamorous career possible. At school we were told that we would all live on the moon and that computers would soon be doing everyone’s job, so clearly it was the best sector to work in. I didn’t consider tech or science to be particularly male professions in spite of all those manly astronauts. The children’s programme Tomorrow’s World certainly had female presenters. And the Clangers weren’t all blokes.
It wasn’t until I found myself working in an in-house IT team that included software development and operations that it finally dawned on me just how under-represented women are. I’m sorry to say that my response was not to try and change this, but to sidestep my career into tech journalism and then PR. Let’s hope that initiatives like this year’s IWD succeed in creating a diverse industry that will make tomorrow’s aspiring technologist feel comfortable, whatever their gender.
Let's hope that initiatives like this year's IWD succeed in creating a diverse industry that will make tomorrow's aspiring technologist feel comfortable, whatever their gender.Xanthe Vaughan Williams Director and Co-Founder, Fourth Day
Danny is an Account Manager in the Manchester office