Women in Data
The vital role of women in data science has been highlighted in a report showing the challenges facing women working in STEM. The stories and perspectives of 64 women were captured in a series of interviews for the Women in Data campaign.
Students, government ministers, chief executives and lab technicians are among those involved. The campaign shares the highly-skilled, innovative work of women working with data science, technology and innovation across a diversity of industries, fields and sectors in Edinburgh.
The campaign is run by the University of Edinburgh’s Data-Driven Innovation initiative.
The report aims to raise awareness of the under-representation of women in data science – a key area of economic growth – and challenges the tech industry to do more to promote and retain women.
According to Skills Development Scotland, only around 13 per cent of science, technical, engineering and medicine (STEM) jobs are occupied by women.
The profiles featured in the report highlight the significant work taking place and draws attention to the need for gender balance and greater support for women in the area.
“This campaign aims to provide role models, showing that women are at the forefront of technological advancement in Scotland, challenging perceptions that scientific and innovation work is ‘just for men’.”
“Because we know that the tech sector in Scotland and the rest of the world is largely male-dominated, it’s important that women and girls see the range of amazing work which our interviewees do through the Women in Data campaign. These women are using data to explore and change the world – I hope girls at school are inspired by them.”
The Bayes director of education, Teresa Ironside, took part in the campaign, here is an extract from her interview by Poppy Gerrard-Abbott:
I've been working in the management of data science related education programmes for six years, first within the School of Informatics as Graduate School Manager during the launch of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Science, then as Head of Student Services for the School, overseeing support for students from undergraduate level to PhD.
From 2015, I was Development Manager for Edinburgh Data Science Initiative, working across the University to foster collaboration and bring together data science activity. One of the major outputs of this initiative was the Data Science, Technology and Innovatio
n (DSTI) postgraduate online learning programme, which has courses contributed from academics units across the University.
During this role, I split my time with a role as the Chief Operating Officer for the innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP). Funded by the Scottish Government with operations based in the University, IHDP aims to change the way data and analytics are used to improve health outcomes by developing new relationships between the NHS, industry, academia and the third sector.
Alongside my current role as College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Head of Online Learning Development, I am the Director of Education for the Bayes Centre, the University's data science and artificial intelligence hub for CSE as part of the City Region Deal Data Driven Innovation Programme (DDI). This role builds on the collaborative activity started within Edinburgh Data Science and I work with academic colleagues to develop innovative ways of delivering data science training. The Bayes Education Group stimulated, coordinates and partners in the development and delivery of education-related programmes and projects within DDI and is responsible for delivery of the talent objectives of the Bayes Business case.
In all of the roles I have undertaken, there have been elements that expand upon my previous roles and experience, along with the elements that were new and challenging.
"It is a privilege to be involved in the Women in Data campaign within the Data Driven Innovation programme, which seeks to showcase the variety of ways women are involved with and making a difference in data science, technology and innovation across a broad range of industries and sectors. It has been inspiring to read the interviews of those involved and see all the different routes they've taken that have made such an impact on so many areas related to data science."
The University of Edinburgh is collaborating with Heriot-Watt University to deliver the 10-year Data-Driven Innovation programme.
The initiative is a key part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and aims to help organisations and all people benefit from the data revolution.