Today is International Women’s Day, a worldwide celebration that focuses on the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women today. With so many opportunities now open for women in the world of data and analytics, there has never been a better time for women to enter the industry at the C-suite level.
Following on from the “Women in Data and Analytics” report we released last year, to celebrate International Women’s Day we asked some of our most prominent female speakers how they find it in an industry that is often still male dominated, and if they have come across any challenges or barriers as a woman in the data and analytics industry:
This is a great field for women, as roles are new and expanding. There is no pre-conceived notion of what a Chief Data Officer should be. It is increasingly becoming a role about monetization of data, which requires a broad skill set including influence, strategy, business acumen, collaboration, technical competence, and the ability to translate between business and technical realms. Women are well-equipped for this. It is a growing field and requires constant learning. I encourage women to join this field and help shape it. There is so much opportunity for personal and professional growth. We as women are used to change and reinvention, so the way I see it the data and analytics field is a great fit. Allison Sagraves, Chief Data Officer, M&T Bank.
Being a women in data science is much more accepted now than when I had started in late 1990s. One of the struggles that most leaders have in data and analytics is to building a team, attracting and retaining talent and having a culture of innovation. All of these key building blocks of a highly productive team along with high levels of skills are inherent skills for me and as a result I have always had phenomenal teams. Some hurdles I have had to overcome range from assumptions that others make – such as women not being good at analytics or others trying to explain what I was saying – I have overcome them all by staying focused on my goal and making connections with professionals who respect me. Dipti Patel, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Vituity.
I am fortunate to work for a progressive non-profit organization whose mission is centered around diversity and inclusion, so I haven’t personally experienced barriers based on my gender as I worked my way into my current role almost five years ago. In fact, I was pro-active in conceiving of and creating the data & analytics team I now manage – something that my Senior VP (who happened to be a woman) was very open to, and advocated for the organization to be forward-thinking in developing this new “muscle”.
While that is my personal experience, there are clearly not enough women in leadership data/analytics roles. I do think this is changing for entry level jobs and that it will just take some time for women to work their way up into C-Suite roles. All of that said, you only have to look at Congress where less than 20% of seats are held by women and at Fortune 500 CEOs, of whom only 6.4% are women, to understand that this problem is not limited to the this particular industry. With the #MeToo movement shaking things up in the workplace and many women-focused technology groups active around the country, we can only hope that big changes are the way. And let’s not forget that we all need to tell the girls and young women that we love that they can be awesome at maths and science – and that these skills can be applied to almost anything they are passionate about – Susan Paine – Director: Analytics and Strategy: Human Rights Campaign.
To access our report on “Women in Data” visit https://coriniumintelligence.com/report-women-in-data/