8 Women in Data & Insight to Inspire You in 2022

by | Mar 8, 2022 | Data & Insight | 0 comments

8 Women in Data & Insight to Inspire You in 2022

by | Mar 8, 2022 | Data & Insight | 0 comments

We need data science to become more inclusive. And driving this inclusivity must be approached with intersectionality in mind. Today, however, we celebrate women. Here’s the list of eight women in data who inspire us with their work and advocacy!

In the modern-day world, data is everything. It is fundamental for economic development. It’s developing our workforces, public policy, healthcare, and education to name the few. We rely on numbers to shape the ways in which we communicate and live. In 2020, every person generated 1.7 megabytes in just a second, and the big data analytics market is set to reach $103 billion by 2023!

With the importance of big data grows the importance of those responsible for shaping raw data – data scientists, analysts and professionals working in tech and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs. They are the ones advising organizational leadership on crucial business decisions which influence nearly every industry and market.

So, how is it that despite the importance of big data and these roles growing, the latest research shows that only 28% of Data & Insight professionals in the UK are women. In fact, while efforts have been implemented to improve the gender balance in Data, the percentage of female professionals has dropped from 30% to 28% in the past year…

The largest drop in the number of women was observed in Risk Analytics (17%), followed by the drop in Marketing & Insight (7%) which has always led the way when it comes to gender balance in the UK Data & Analytics industry.

It’s been reported that the gender pay gap has also increased since last year going from 10.5% to 13.5%. The reason behind the jump is unclear, but the evidence suggests this isn’t an education-based issue, with the pay gap remaining the same when both men and women have a STEM degree.

Data & Insight Is a White Male Dominated Industry Because Diversity Remains a Significant Issue In STEM

The Data & Insight industry is dominated by white men. We see it across organisations, at industry events and conferences, and on public forums. Women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds continue being underrepresented. The reason is a diversity problem in the STEM sector.

During school years (primary, secondary, high school) boys and girls tend to take math and science courses in fairly similar numbers. About as many girls as boys enter college prepared to pursue education in Science, Tech or Engineering. However, having completed the first year of college, significantly fewer women say they wish to pursue the major. Consequently, only 20% of those degrees are held by them.

In terms of workforce, women hold about 35% of STEM jobs in the UK. For Data Science, specifically, this percentage is much lower, with only 15% of data scientists being women.

Studies have identified several factors resulting in underrepresentation of women in the STEM sector, including stereotypes, self-assessment, student experience, and work biases. Increasing diversity in STEM and Data Science is a highly complex task, requiring work in many different areas. One is certain – we must start creating more inclusive academia and workplace cultures across the sector.

Diversity Is Critical to Eliminate Biased Data

Data Science is shaping the future of industries and the world we live in. We cannot afford gender or other diversity gaps within the teams and industries promising to reshape our reality.

The lack of diversity within data & insight teams reinforces statistical bias. Building diverse data teams is not optional, it’s crucial for extracting accurate patterns and results from data sets.

Diversity within the field is essential if we want to minimise/eliminate algorithmic discrimination and machine bias. Non-diverse teams equal bias data, and bias data translates into flawed systems.

A good example of that would be Amazon’s, now scrapped, recruiting AI. The company’s hiring tool, designed to mechanise the search for top talent, used AI to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars. A year into using the experimental engine, the company realised it was not selecting candidates in a gender-neutral way.

“That is because Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period. Most came from men, a reflection of male dominance across the tech industry.

In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable. It penalized resumes that included the word “women’s,” as in “women’s chess club captain.” And it downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges, according to people familiar with the matter. They did not specify the names of the schools.” (Reuters, 2018)

We Need More Women in Data

The bottom line is that we must empower girls and women to pursue education and careers in Data & Analytics, to eliminate data bias, build higher-achieving teams, better systems, and businesses. We should do so by creating more inclusive academia and workplace cultures, promoting mentorship and support programmes, eliminating the gender pay gap, and providing networking opportunities. Not just in the light of the International Women Day, but all year long.

Women in Data & Analytics to Inspire You in 2022

We need data science to become more inclusive. And driving this inclusivity must be approached with intersectionality in mind. Today, however, we celebrate women. Here’s the list of eight who inspire us with their work and advocacy!

Ruha Benjamin


Ruha Benjamin is a Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, founding director of the IDA B. WELLS Just Data Lab and author of two books, People’s Science and Race After Technology. She has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for over fifteen years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice in the U.S. and globally.

Ruha is an advocate for diversifying data & insight teams. She does an excellent job explaining how flawed data can have a disastrous, real-world implications for women and people of colour, and promotes focusing on building the right team before starting to build AI systems.

You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Roisin McCarthy


Roisin is the founder of Women in Data, a UK organisation aiming to raise awareness to the issue of declining numbers of female applicants in Data & Analytics and providing networking and mentoring opportunities to women in the field.

As a recruiter with over 20 years of experience in the field of data science and analytics, Roisin McCarthy observed a worrying decline in female candidates applying to roles across every level. The gap in female applicants led her to examine the underlying causes and barriers to women in the data and analytics industries. What she found led her to collaborate with Britain’s foremost analytics expert, Payal Jain and together, Women in Data was formed to confront this startling problem and to agitate for change.

You can follow her on LinkedIn

Anna-Lee Bridgstock


Anna-Lee is a Director of Data, Intelligence and Planning at LADBible, harnessing data to help inspire creativity, resulting in billions of platform views, unrivalled audience engagement, and content that youth audiences love.

She’s an award-winning data specialist, who started her career in fashion, but quickly realised she had a passion for numbers, patterns, and insights after she was promoted to a strategic role.

Anna-Lee recently became one of the UK’s top 20 Women in Data and Technology, one of the UK’s top 100 Data Leaders by DataIQ and has also received awards from the Drum (50 under 30) and M&M Global (Top 30 Talent.)

Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Payal Jain


Payal is a Managing Director of JCARV and & Chair of Women in Data.

JCURV is a management consultancy company whose mission is to increase the agility of UK PLC by helping companies radically change the way they leverage data. Before this, Payal has held several executive roles in the Banking and Finance industry for the last 18 years.

Payal is also the Chair of Women in Data, whose mission is gender parity in all data roles, especially at a senior level.

In 2016, Payal was recognised as the most influential data professional in the DataIQ Top 100 leaders in the UK. In 2019, Payal was recognised in the HERoes Top 100 Women Executives in the UK and highly commended in the category of Digital and Technology in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

You can find Payal on Twitter here and LinkedIn here.



Joyann Boyce


Joyann is a Founder & CEO of Inclued AI, a marketing software designed to aid in development of inclusive content and establish it as an industry standard by 2030.

Her work helps brands to convert intent into action by establishing intersectional diversity in their strategy. Joyann’s strong track record in both marketing and data science gives her unique insight which she uses to advise brands. She has worked with a wide range of clients including Coke, Adobe, SETsquared and Nationwide and has been named one of the South-West’s 42 Under 42 by Insider Media and TechSpark Top 50 Rising Star.

Joyann is also a founder of Arima & Co marketing agency, a creator of the Bristol BME Collective and a public speaker challenging performative inclusivity and promoting diverse teams across the sector.

You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Elizabeth Hollinger


Elizabeth Hollinger is a Head of Analytics and Business Intelligence at Aggreko. She’s been featured in the Women in Data’s Data Driven Innovation Campaign and is one of role models for women in Data & Insight. With her work and involvement, she’s showing that women are at the forefront of technological and scientific advancement and encourages them to join the industry.

“From early education, we need to show females that there are places for them in technology roles, providing encouragement and showcasing role models. Mentoring networks, exposure to successful females or ‘people like me’, and advice in how to get there is essential for accelerating that gender balance.”

Elizabeth and Aggreko have achieved great things by changing the way the company helps customers and in doing so changing the market dynamics.

You can follow her on LinkedIn.

Diana Akanho


Diana is a Senior Insight Manager at TechNation, a national network for founders, leaders, and scaling companies driving positive societal and economic change.

She has experience working across various organisations, from charities, NHS, media companies and Events.

Diana currently uses data to help in the tech eco-system across the UK and inform decision-making across government bodies and within businesses. She argues that informed data-driven decision making starts with organisations investigating their data teams – understanding their pain points, challenges, and future goals.

She has been listed in the DataIQ Top 100 leaders in the UK. You can follow her on LinkedIn.


Helen Crooks


Helen is a Chief Data Officer at Ofgem, Britain’s independent energy regulator, and Ambassador for AI and the Data Economy for Innovate UK.

With 37 years of experience across retail, travel, telecos, and banking to name a few, she uses data to support a complex industry in achieving one of the most challenging and important global goals of our age.  Her previous roles include Group Customer Data Director at Tesco PLC, Head of Information Strategy and Governance at Virgin Media and Chief Data Officer for Lloyd’s of London.

Helen is active in communities to drive diversity and inclusion into organisations, being recognised in both DATAIQ Top 100 [Data Titan since 2017] and Women in Data global awards. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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