To the Women Who Dare to be in Data

sonya barlow
3 min readDec 29, 2018

The end of this year saw 1,000 females coming together to celebrate their time in data — Women in Data 18 was more of a celebration than a conference — it was an ode to those women who had dared to be in data and those who are still daring.

The 8 hour celebration consisted of a power house introduction, wisdom workshops, community building and ended with The Female Lead showcasing their 20 in data talent — what a line up!

As per the event, here’s a few data nuggets which were shared during the day:

• Women only hold 27% of roles in data

• There is an expected 6% growth in GDP as a result of gender equality

• Diverse companies are 15% more likely to exceed average financial performance targets

The day was purposely female-led, providing women with a space to unwind, learn, share, connect — dismiss their #impostersyndrome — and for businesses to understand the importance of encouraging women in data.

How do we increase the number of women in data? Returns, profits, targets, retention?

1. Be proud to be soft-er

The world is changing — tech is advancing, with an increase in robotics, machine learning and automated algorithms — we are in need of communication, empathy and soft skills — traits which statistically proven come more naturally than their male counterparts.

We need to harness these skills, be proud of these qualities we have and help to change the conversation:

• Start conversations with ‘I feel…’

• Build in house training decks on how to manage conversations; how to be more ‘human’

• Encourage others to speak up, through mentoring programs, focus groups or anonymised surveys

2. Have an open relationship

This is the time to build communities, networks, and relationships. Enjoy being in more than one relationship, driving continuous sharing, learning and progression

There is a drive for the inclusion and community agenda; build relationships — networks — forces — with other individuals, organisations, businesses.

• Attend conferences, seminars, discussions, free meetups, events in industry

• Knowledge share — in your workplace, outside and online

• Don’t be afraid to say yes to new opportunities, relationships, connections

3. Embrace the data

Use data to change the culture, mindset and proposition.

Embrace the certainty that you know what your customer wants; their needs and drivers.

• Create stories about what humans do/are doing/will do

• Ask curious questions and keep asking

• Trust the data to do all the hard work for you

By taking small steps within our businesses, we can create large impact-ful movements which will in return, benefit the profits, employees and culture.

Through out the event there was a consensus — this time is different — Men and Women both are understanding the benefits of diversity; diversity in data and diversity in the workplace. Everyone is encouraged to speak up. And data is leading strategic decisions — in the workplace, in the house hold and in the day to day.

It’s a great time to be a women in data.

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Sonya Barlow is a woc in tech, cofouner of Like Minded Females and public speaker.

Like Minded Females, founded in May 18, was created with the intention to provide initiatives for females to connect, inspire and share. We lead tech based events, for knowledge sharing, networking with other like minded individuals and driving new opportunities into the tech industry. If you’d like to discuss organising an event or workshop to tap into our 1,800 person memberbase, please email

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sonya barlow

Award Winning Entrepreneur, Author & Traveller, BBC Radio Presenter. sonyabarlowuk