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We take a look at ten women who are playing a crucial role in the European IT industry and may just be the role models a future generation of young females need to redress the gender balance.
The IT sector has always had a poor reputation when it comes to gender diversity. In the UK alone women make up just 17 per cent of the technology workforce. But the lack of women in ICT roles in Europe cost the sector €9bn in lost revenue, according to a European Commission report in 2013. The report also found that women are far more likely to leave the sector mid-career.
However, women have played a crucial role in the development of IT. One of the first computer scientists was British-born noblewoman and mathematician Ada Lovelace, born in 1815. There are many more talented women today whose contributions are key to the advancement of the industry.
In order to attract more talent, the sector must do more to champion the successes of its female role models – of which there are many. Here we celebrate the achievements of women in the industry with our list of top 10 influential women in IT in Europe.
In 2013, Joanna Shields was appointed chief executive of Tech City UK, a government-backed organisation aimed at lowering the barriers to technology entrepreneurship. Earlier this year she stepped up to the chairman’s role. She is digital advisor to the prime minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron and is a non-executive director of the London Stock Exchange Group. Shields has worked in the sector for 27 years and was awarded an Order of the British Empire in January 2014 for services to the digital industries. In August 2014 she was awarded a peerage.
Sabine Everaet has held the post of CIO at Coca-Cola Europe for five years. During that time she delivered significant savings and has overseen a number of outsourcing and offshoring strategies. Everaet has been instrumental in developing the company’s digital marketing, business intelligence and big data strategies. She also chairs the Coca-Cola European Women Leadership Council and is active in a number of networks to advance women in IT.
Anne Bouverot was appointed director general of the GSMA, the association for mobile operators across the world, in 2012. Previously she was vice president of mobile services for France Telecom Orange. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics and computer science from the Ecole Normale Supérieure and an M.S. degree from Telecom Paris.
Neelie Kroes is vice-president of the European Commission and responsible for the zone’s Digital Agenda, the EU’s strategy to help technologies deliver sustainable economic growth. During that time she has campaigned for high-speed broadband for all and is pushing for a single telecoms market to guarantee net access. She also launched a €100m taxpayer-backed fund to invest in tech startups in the EU.
Martha Lane Fox is a technology entrepreneur and peer. She joined the House of Lords in 2013, becoming its youngest female member. Lane-Fox co-founded Lastminute.com in the dotcom boom of the early 2000s. In 2009 she was appointed the UK Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion and produced a comprehensive report on the UK government’s digital strategy. She also set up Race Online 2012 and Go ON UK, a charity devoted to getting more people online.
Monique Morrow is CTO at networking giant Cisco Systems. She has more than 20 years’ experience in IP internetworking design. Morrow led the engineering project team for one of the first Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks in the world, which provides a mechanism for forwarding packets for any network protocol. MPLS is now an established technology throughout the world.
In 2014 Eva Berneke was appointed CEO of one of Denmark’s largest software and IT firms KMD. The company employs more than 3,200 staff and reports annual turnover of DKK 3.8bn (€500m). Previously she was senior executive vice-president of communications company TDC Business.
Last year Nicola Mendelsohn was appointed Facebook’s vice-president of EMEA. She is also co-chair of the UK government’s creative industries council, alongside Business Secretary Vince Cable. Drinks giant Diageo appointed her as non-executive director this year to bolster its digital marketing expertise.
Emma Mulqueeny is the founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, the collaborative hacking organisation. She is a commissioner for the Speaker of the House of Commons’ Commission on Digital Democracy, set up to investigate the opportunities digital technology can bring for parliamentary democracy in the UK.
Anneke Burger-Tebbens Torringa is board member of CIONET, the community group for IT executives in Europe. Previously she was CIO of GDF Suez Energy, in the Netherlands – a subsidiary of one of the largest energy suppliers in the world. She has also co-authored a book: “Round Shapes in IT”.
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