This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Choose To Challenge‘. And today here at Patients Know Best (PKB), we wanted to mark the day by challenging stereotypes about women working in tech to help inspire more women to join the industry.
The findings of a report by WISE in 2019 identified that there had been a drop in women in tech (IT professionals) from 181,500 in 2018, to 180,000 in 2019. This followed several years of sustained growth. It found that of the 300,000 more people working in tech jobs now than in 2009, just 55,000 were female. This means the percentage of tech professionals who are female has staggered at 16%.
More action is needed to ensure women benefit from the growth of the tech industry. At Patients Know Best, we understand and appreciate the value of a diverse workforce. 41% of our workforce are women and of those, 50% hold a line management role or have management responsibilities. 40% of the company’s management team are also women.
However, this is by far the norm. A report by PWC on Women in Tech found that girls are less likely to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects at school and this gap continues through to university. It also highlighted the importance of women in shaping the technology of the future as our personal and working lives become increasingly shaped by technology. It argues that technology products and services are being developed and delivered based on the perspectives of only one half of the population and therefore, are not designed with the needs of everyone in mind. Women make up half of consumers and technology companies need to reflect this.
To celebrate the PKB women in tech, we have been speaking to our female colleagues to get their views on why they think women should choose to challenge the stereotype and consider a career in tech. Sally Rennison, VP of Sales, along with our other fabulous colleagues, share their personal experiences and views on why diversity in developing tech is so important.
Louise, Information Governance (IG) Manager
“Women provide balance to the industry from different walks of life, life-experience and backgrounds. Working with a huge variety of peers and customers with different mindsets – from technical to customer support, project managers to clinicians.
PKB are doing the right thing in terms of Information Governance and are thought-leaders in the arena.”
Alex, Financial Controller
“The lack of women in science and tech fields has created gender bias and affected research outcomes. Women offer differences (not just those between men and women), increase innovation and creativity.
It is too late to advise someone when they are leaving education. Advice needs to happen at school.”
Ruth, Senior Project Manager
“Working in the tech industry is challenging and exciting. There is so much scope in what you can do and I love problem-solving and coming up with innovative solutions.
I would actively encourage young women to pursue a job in the tech industry for many reasons but primarily because working on tech usually gives you a real sense of making an impact on people’s lives, nearly everything we build is built to help someone in some way.”
Tarra, Support Team
“I think the industry needs more diversity. It will also ensure that the technology being developed today is created with women in mind. I like the fact that it’s constantly changing. I learn something new most days which keeps me more engaged.
I would have advised my younger self to go straight into working with technology after finishing school. Unfortunately, I spent many years not knowing what I wanted to do, but as soon as I got involved in this area I knew this was something I would enjoy being a part of.”
Harleen, Project Manager
“I don’t think there are enough women in this industry. Tech is sometimes seen as a “male-oriented” remit therefore women sometimes may lack the confidence to join the tech world however, women have so much to bring to the table. We also need more women in tech so we can act as role models for the next generation who can be confident in entering this field.
I would say just go for it – tech needs YOU!”
Sarah, Account Manager
“I love being involved in an industry that is innovative, constantly evolving and changing. I also feel that tech has the ability to deliver real sustainable value to people, especially in health tech and that provides genuine satisfaction.
For me personally the biggest difficulty as a woman in tech has been my own limitations – fear of tech jargon, intimidation in not understanding all the hows – a feeling that it’s a world I don’t belong in – but rationally I know that non techy part of me is what especially makes me valuable in this environment.”
Han, Clinical Engagement Manager
“Women have a lot to give in tech. It’s important to have a woman’s thoughtful, enthusiastic ideas shown in our product. Women are detailed in their thoughts, organised and efficient.
I come from a nursing background so I was very excited about giving patients access to their healthcare data and providing a sustainable tech solution to support clinical staff to look after patients. I was, and still am, most excited by the dynamic care plans that can be edited and shared between patients/ healthcare professionals/ carers and families. This would have been the feature I utilised most in my last nursing job.”
Manjeet, Project Manager
“I felt like I’d be contributing to making a real change and impact on communities and the lives of individuals; empowering them with technology that will ultimately improve their own lives and their families.
This is an exciting, fast-moving and lively environment that allows you to think outside of the box. Constantly making improvements to meet the needs of customers. It’s overwhelming at times as well as empowering. I’d definitely encourage young people to get involved.”
Lisa, Support Manager
“Eight years ago, my master’s degree in Information Management led me into the NHS as a Librarian. I was enveloped in a world of research and healthcare technologies. My interest in digital solutions evolved and I moved into an IT role at Bangor University. Here I learned how to code, designing electronic data capture studies, randomisation systems and research trials. Fast forward to today, and I’m the Support Manager at Patients Know Best.”
“I think women joining the tech industry is a great thing for both women and technology. On an individual level, jobs in tech are becoming more and more common and they are arguably the industry of the future, however these jobs are still largely held by men. It is important for women to join to help reduce the pay gap and move towards equality. On a broader scale, technology is heavily used, but having technology designed by only the male part of the population is not representative. Having female input will lead to better technology and benefit women around the world. Lastly, women are skilled and capable, excluding them from any industry is a mistake.
In my job as a developer, I get to affect technology used by billions of people. At PKB specifically, I know that this impact will enable people to have better healthcare, which is incredibly valuable.”
“In September 2018, I started working as a digital Consultant in Morocco. To me, it is important that more women start working in the tech industry so that everybody can feel like they belong, and so that future women will not shy away from one domain or another for the wrong reasons if they feel like this is what they want to do. Also, the fact that these jobs are still to this day held by a really homogeneous group of people (mostly men) is a problem, and I do believe that the multiplicity of what we experience as human beings have to be represented in the new tools that we create!
My advice would be to always remember that you are legitimate, and you don’t know any less than your coworkers!”
Katie, VP of Success
“I didn’t start working in tech until late 2012 – until then I had barely any experience of ‘tech’ at all beyond using social media or shopping online!
Always work towards something you feel is important and that you believe in. Work with and for people that inspire you to be and do better. Never lose sight of, or compromise yourself but take opportunities whenever they arise if they feel right – they will work out!”
Gurpreet, Head of Marketing & Communications
“Progress towards gender parity remains slow and tech is still a male-dominated industry but, I believe women have a lot of value-add. We also have more humility and that’s important because it provides a more realistic and inclusive perspective, and it’s also critical for a healthy company culture. In a world where there is no question that tech is the future, we need more women working in tech to ensure we’re offering the next generation an equitable future that is born from a truly shared vision.”
Sarah, National Manager, Wales
“Every industry should be inclusive, the tech industry is no different! We need to ensure representation in all sectors, and tech is fast paced and emergent, women need to be in a variety of roles.
The tech industry is fast paced and responsive to change! No day is ever the same! The application and implementation of tech in the health and education sector is hugely rewarding.
Sometimes society forces us to focus on ‘being something’. Following your interests and being passionate about what matters to you will lead you to work in a place with like-minded people who share your passion.
Steph, Customer Communications Manager
“I’ve worked in healthcare tech for nearly 20 years and it’s been a really interesting career. To work in innovation and transformation is difficult, but can be so rewarding to make change happen. I’m so glad I took this path and want to encourage more women to do the same to make a difference in this world!”
This is just a snapshot of our fabulous PKB women in tech – but today, we celebrate them all. It’s clear to see why continuing to tackle and challenge the increase in the number of women in tech is so important for the future of the industry. International Women’s Day is a great platform for spreading the voices of women, to share their personal stories, challenges and inspiration.