Why do we need more Women in Software?

The winners of our annual Women in Software initiative were announced a week ago, and we couldn’t be more proud to share the work of these women with the world.

You can see the full list of 2022 winners here.

Each year, we recognise 20 women in the UK’s software engineering and development sector who have made a significant contribution to the sector within the first 10 years of their career.

Highlights from last year’s Women in Software reception were captured here:

In the video, we hear from a number of key stakeholders in the Makers community and wanted to share their insights and more about each of them.

Efua Akumanyi — Co-CTO, Coding Black Females

“Women are still underrepresented in the tech industry. A report by Pricewaterhouse Cooper stated that only 5% of leadership positions in the UK tech industry are held by women.”

Efua Akumanyi

Efua Akumanyi is the Head of Tech and Training at CodingBlackFemales.com a not-for-profit organisation, whose primary aim is to provide opportunities for Black female developers. She is also the Co-Founder and Head of Technology of www.furnishful.co.uk a shopping discovery site for furniture and homewares.

Efua graduated from Sussex with a BSc in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in 2001 and went on to work as a software developer for 15 years. Efua is passionate about encouraging other women into tech, whether it’s finding jobs in the industry or starting their own business. She is a member of several women in tech groups and speaks on subjects ranging from AI to entrepreneurship.

Kay Lack — Director of Training, Makers

“I think people need to see stories they can live themselves in stories, stories they can place their own lives in.”

Kay Lack worked as a full-stack software engineer at some of London’s leading tech companies before joining Makers as a coach, where she taught modern software engineering practices.

She helped to develop the Makers’ curriculum and teaching style, which aims to build contribution-ready, high-potential emotionally intelligent software engineers who apply professional-grade processes using any technology. She is now Chief Training Officer at Makers and is an industry expert on helping companies to attract and grow top tech talent.

Joe Charm — Partnerships Manager, Makers

“I think being an ally is extremely important. What we’re trying to combat with the diversity challenges in tech: it requires all hands on deck. Just being part of this is absolutely fantastic.”

Makers Partnerships Manager Joe Charm catching up with Efua Akumanyi; Head of Training and Tech at Coding Black Females at last year’s Women in Software Reception

Coming from various sales, consulting and banking roles, Joe joined Makers with a track record of successfully designing and delivering digital transformation solutions to some of the world’s largest brands, including HSBC, Barclays and Facebook to name a few.

As Partnership Manager, he now advises businesses on how to evolve and scale their Tech Talent Strategies.

Haylee Potts — Head of Partnerships Marketing, Makers

“Bringing everyone together and being able to celebrate the achievements of the women here tonight is really, really special.”

Haylee is Head of Partnerships Marketing at Makers, having previously been Events Lead & Head of Diversity Initiatives. She leads the Women in Software initiative, which is an annual platform celebrating the women making waves and creating impact within the software industry today.

The Women in Software awards consists of two lists: the Power List category celebrates women who demonstrate personal achievement as well as action taken to support the next generation of women in the industry. The Change Makers List celebrates allies and mentors of all genders, and organisations who support and accelerate the careers of women in tech.

Sophia Chambers — Software Engineer Manager, Sky

“It’s really important that we show our future generations that we are not limited by gender or diversity or our social background. We keep pushing through and we keep breaking those barriers and we keep making sure that there are equal opportunities for all.”

In 2014, Sophia decided to go back to university to study her passion: Software Engineering. Sophia’s first official software engineering role was at Sky Bet, working with front-end and back-end technical teams, including Google Pay. Within five years, she has grown to a lead engineer and is now a Software Engineering Manager for the P&C house for Sky Sports and Sky News data.

She is a parent of three children, and having been a teenage parent, she has found it beneficial to create awareness about her journey into her career within tech and inspire others to show that you can achieve your dreams no matter the circumstances. She attends numerous meet-ups across South Yorkshire, speaking and contributing to those tailored around tech and women in tech.

She is also a volunteer at Code First Girls, supporting women from all backgrounds in learning to code, including web development and python. She also runs a local non-profit that helps people from all backgrounds into work, education and training opportunities within her hometown of Doncaster.

Richard Rosenberg — CTO, Financial Times

“A perfect place for the tech industry to evolve would be that we actually don’t have to have these kinds of events because it would just be normal.”

Richard Rosenberg; Chief Technology Officer at the Financial Times addressing the audience at the 2021 Women in Software reception on the FT’s pledge to hire more women in tech

Richard Rosenberg was appointed CTO at the Financial Times at the start of 2021. He leads the FT’s technology strategy across the development and operations teams, and oversees the delivery of cross-platform customer experiences.

He previously worked in a number of positions within the Expedia Group, and spent time at Sky, where his team produced award-winning and innovative products including the revolutionary Sky News for iPad application.

Arfah Farooq — Founder, Muslamic Makers

“Events and initiatives like Women in Software are really important because it’s all about role models. If you see you, you can be, right? So if you see somebody who looks like you, it’ll make you feel like you can go into that career path. So what it does is just bring out those role models, and it really inspires the next generation.”

Arfah Farooq is the co-founder of Muslamic Makers, a community of Muslim changemakers who work in technology and support and encourage other Muslims to upskill and enter the technology world. During the pandemic, she launched a highly successful careers mentoring programme, helping young Muslim students to learn new skills, meet professionals and build their confidence with the support of a Covid-19 Action grant.

Previously on her Churchill Fellowship to Pakistan, the UAE and the USA in 2017, she explored how to encourage greater participation in the technology sector among Muslim women.

She has most recently been the Community Lead for the Artificial Intelligence Labs Company at NHSX, with a loan to create and build a Community for Artificial Intelligence practitioners in healthcare. She was featured as a trailblazing Muslim Women as part of the International Women’s Day campaign and was named a top 30 London Tech Week Changemaker. She regularly speaks about her journey.

Claudia Harris OBE — CEO, Makers

“The women in the room today invest in role modelling. They are the people those young women across the country are meeting, and are seeing. They are inspiring that change. They are changing what young women believe is possible and by doing that they are sending out a tremor into our country that will, in turn, transform representation in the tech industry.”

Claudia Harris is the CEO of Makers and has been instrumental in helping it grow as it continues to champion diversity in the digital economy and to develop exceptional digital talent. Previously she was Chief Executive Officer of The Careers & Enterprise Company, an employer-led organisation that aims to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work.

Before that, she was a Partner at McKinsey & Company for six years, where she led client work in commercial transformation, skills and education in the London office. Claudia was also a lead of McKinsey Women London. Prior to joining the firm, she formed part of the healthcare team of the Prime Minster’s Delivery Unit in 2005, which was responsible for the successful delivery of MRSA and long-term conditions targets.



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