It is a well known fact that women are under-represented within the technology sector. Many people have discussed how, why and what can be done to help fix the imbalance. We won't go into those questions here. What we will discuss is a situation where this problem can become particularly acute: events.

Sadly it is still not uncommon to see panels that only feature male speakers, even in 2017. When the inevitable backlash on social media occurs, it is always interesting to see how the event organisers respond.

woman speaker istock wavebreak
© iStock/Wavebreak

Ideally, it goes something like: "We're sorry, we will do better next time." Sometimes the organisers claim to have invited (usually unspecified) women but they couldn't make it. Regularly the defence is: "There just aren't enough women working in this area." But how true is this?

We decided to investigate ourselves to see how many UK-based women we could find who'd be able to speak in public across the various sectors within tech. With relatively little effort we found tons of impressive vendor executives, chief information officers, startup founders, developers, technologists, lawyers…just to name a few sectors. They are listed below, by their (quite loosely defined) expertise category, with links to their profiles.

This list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, we're certain it's just a drop in the ocean. So if you are or know a woman working in tech who'd be a great speaker, please get in touch. 

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508 UK women who could speak at your tech event

  • Founders and women working in startups speakers
  • Developers and technologists speakers
  • Vendor executives and tech company staff speakers
  • Female CIOs and CTOs
  • Academics, trade bodies, thinktankers and non-profits
  • Security and tech law speakers
  • Venture capitalists and investors
  • Public sector speakers
  • Media, communications and marketing

Founders and women working in startups 

Developers and technologists

Vendor executives and tech company staff

CIOs, CDOs and CTOs

Academics, analysts, freelancers, trade bodies, thinktankers and non-profits

  • Charlotte Holloway, tech and digital policy expert, former techUK Policy Director
  • Maggie Philbin, veteran tech broadcaster 
  • Romilly Dennys, executive director at The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec)
  • Ann Kempster, digital transformation consultant 
  • Danielle George, vice-dean for science and engineering at Manchester University
  • Dr Hannah Fry, mathematician at University College London
  • Annika Small, founder and director of CAST (the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology)
  • Chi Onwurah MP, shadow minister for industrial strategy
  • Professor Rachel McKendry, professor of Biomedical Nanotechnology at UCL 
  • Amali de Awalis, CEO at Code First Girls
  • Dr Sophie Bostock, Sleep Evangelist at health startup Big Health 
  • Carole Mundell, head of astrophysics at the University of Bath
  • Dr Lucy Rogers, engineer, writer and Robot Wars judge
  • Shivvy Jervis, tech and digital futurist
  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, cofounder of social enterprise Stemettes
  • Debbie Forster, co-CEO at education tech charity Apps for Good
  • Maxine Mackintosh, UCL neuroinformatics PhD and chair of HealthTech Women UK
  • Dr Jo Twist, CEO at UKIE, trade body for games and interactive entertainment businesses 
  • Nathalie Nahai, web psychologist
  • Dr Beth Singler, research associate at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
  • Rebecca Fiebrink, lecturer in computing at Goldsmiths University
  • Dr Kate Devlin, senior lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths University
  • Diana K Lee, MEng mathematical computation student at UCL, and lead curriculum instructor at Code First Girls
  • Sarah Sheerman-Chase, participation manager at Code Club
  • Laura Kirsop, product manager at FutureLearn 
  • Amanda Smith, senior consultant at the Open Data Institute 
  • Pauline Roche, managing director of tech social enterprise RnR Organisation
  • Sarah Prag, consultant and coach at Quotidian Consulting 
  • Karen Masters, astronomer at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth
  • Ruth Milligan, head of financial services and payments at techUK
  • Tracy Green, director of Greentrac Digital (previously UK Parliament)
  • Kirsty Styles, community organiser at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Lorena Sutherland, content designer and strategist
  • Sue Daley, head of cloud, data, analytics and AI at techUK
  • Catherine Allen, BAFTA-winning AR, VR and immersive media specialist 
  • Valerie Mocker, head of development and European digital policy, Nesta
  • Gen Ashley, director of Women Who Code
  • Hermione Way, consultant and former head of European communications at Tinder
  • Dr Sue Black, UCL computer science professor, government advisor and consultant 
  • Aimee Betts, programme manager for IoT, smart energy, smart cities and smart transport at techUK
  • Jen Persson, director of defenddigitalme
  • Anna Fielder, senior policy advisor at Privacy International
  • Pippa King, privacy campaigner and founder of Biometrics in Schools
  • Renate Samson, chief executive of Big Brother Watch
  • Selena Nemorin, technology researcher at LSE
  • Rachel Arthur, chief intelligence officer at TheCurrent and cofounder of FashMash
  • Amy Orben, D.Phil at the University of Oxford specialising in the psychology of social media
  • Deborah Okenla, membership manager at coworking community Huckletree
  • Harriet Lester, technical projects officer at the Internet Watch Foundation
  • Rain Ashford, wearable tech creator, inventor and mentor
  • Veronika Kapsali, designer, author, inventor and research specialist at University of the Arts
  • Zoe Philpott, designer, writer & director of Ada.Ada.Ada
  • Carrie Wootten, leading immersive tech network Immerse UK at the Knowledge Transfer Network 
  • Emily Savage, immersive technology programme coordinator at Digital Catapult
  • Jenni Lloyd, programme manager of ShareLab Fund at Nesta
  • Alice Casey, senior development manager at Nesta
  • Audree Fletcher, consultant service designer and researcher at Barnardo's
  • Irene C L Ng, director of the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation at the University of Warwick
  • Jessica Figueras, chief analyst at GlobalData Public Sector
  • Georgina O'Toole, chief analyst at TechMarketView
  • Joanna ShieldsPrime Minister’s Special Representative on Internet Safety
  • Ciara Bosworth, head of CRM, data and customer services at the British Heart Foundation

Security and tech law

Venture capitalists and investors

Public sector

  • Elizabeth Denham, information commissioner for the United Kingdom 
  • Ade Adewunmi, head of data infrastructure at Government Digital Service
  • Rebecca Kemp, freelance digital director (previously UK Trade & Investment, Public Health England, GDS)
  • Janet Hughes, previously programme director for GOV.UK Verify at GDS
  • Julie Pierce, director of openness, data and digital at Food Standards Agency
  • Kit Collingwood, deputy director of Universal Credit at Department for Work and Pensions
  • Phillippa Tasselli, head of IT services at the Food Standards Agency
  • Emma Stace, executive director of digital, data and technology at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Aoife Ni Mhorain, head of user research at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 
  • Yash Harris, service designer at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  
  • Louise Downe, head of design for the UK Government, GDS
  • Lara Sampson, product owner, Universal Credit at Department for Work and Pensions
  • Lucy Knight, open data lead at Devon County Council
  • Sian Thomas, head of information management at the Food Standards Agency  
  • Katherine Rooney, city innovation project manager at Bristol City Council 
  • Sally Kerr, digital innovation manager at Edinburgh City Council 
  • Christina Hammond-Aziz, head of digital at the Food Standards Agency
  • Heather Savory, director general for data capability at Office for National Statistics
  • Jess Dyer, technical product manager at Ordnance Survey
  • Gillian Docherty, CEO at The Data Lab
  • Sian Thomas, head of information management at Food Standards Agency 
  • Eleanor Stewart, head of transparency the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Emily Miles, group director of strategy at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Kylie Havelock, product manager at GDS
  • Doniya Soni, principal policy officer for skills at the Greater London Authority
  • Sophie Dennis, information architect and transition strategy lead at NHS.UK
  • Maryvonne Hassall, IT strategy manager at Aylesbury Vale District Council 
  • Holly Ellis, director of digital, data and technology capability at the Government Digital Service

Media, communications and marketing

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