The Data-Driven Innovation initiative has launched a campaign to celebrate women working in data science but also to challenge the industry to do more to promote and retain women within it.
Over September and October 2019, the Women in Data project will publish interviews with more than 50 women – drawn from across politics, academia, business, and the public and third sectors – who work in the tech sector.
The profiles highlight their significant work – from analysing child health data sets to imaging the atmosphere of supergiant plants – and draw attention to the need for gender balance and greater support for women in the area.
The campaign comes amid increased awareness of the under-representation of women in data science, a key area of economic growth.
Only around 13 per cent of science, technical, engineering and medicine (STEM) jobs are occupied by women, according to Skills Development Scotland.
Just 10 per cent of CEOs in STEM FTSE 100 companies are women, notably lower than in non-STEM companies, a Royal Society of Edinburgh survey recently revealed.
Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “An important part of achieving better balance and diversity within this sector is promoting the opportunities from data-related careers. The University of Edinburgh’s Data-Driven Innovation initiative will help to do that and help ensure that we have a greater number of women filling data roles in Scotland.
“For our part, the Scottish Government are taking steps through initiatives in our STEM Strategy, actions in our Digital Strategy and through CodeClan to increase the number of women in data.”
Professor Judy Robertson, Chair in Digital Learning, said: “Women have a long history as a pioneers in the world of data, starting with Florence Nightingale, who used the power of graphs to change the mind of government. Our Women in Data project at the University of Edinburgh has collected stories of present day women who are making their mark with data. It’s vital we recognise the contribution of women data scientists and support more women to succeed in this field.”
The Data-Driven Innovation initiative is a partnership between the Universities of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt. It is part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and aims to help organisations and all people benefit from the data revolution.