The Silicon Review
In 2014, Sadie St Lawrence left the field of neuroscience to transition her career into data science. During this transition, she noticed the lack of diversity in the field and knew that in order to survive and thrive, there needed to be a community that supported women at every stage of their career journey. While running Women in Data, Sadie led data science teams, consulted for Fortune 500 companies, and trained over 350,000 people in data science. Today, Sadie is fully focused on educating, inspiring, and achieving gender equality in data careers.
The first chapter of Women in Data was launched in 2015, and we have grown to more than 500 members in 30 countries around the world. Women in Data was built with our core values of community, opportunity, diversity, and education as a foundation.
We support women in all aspects of their careers - from helping women discover the field of data to helping current practitioners feel supported and advance in their roles. Women in Data believes that by providing more direct support, advocacy, and professional development within a community, we can help more women build rewarding careers in data.
In 2020, a member joined Women in Data because she wanted to transition into a data career. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked in the food and hospitality industry, but like many, her job was impacted. She began teaching herself data science and analytics online and soon discovered the Women in Data community. Through our community, she participated in mentorship, life coaching, study groups and expanded her network. In 2021, she broke through all barriers and landed her first data-focused role. Now, being a member of Women in Data helps ensure she thrives in that role.
We recently launched the Path Forward program to help more individuals, like this member, who may have been impacted professionally by the pandemic. Many women have left the workforce in the past two years, and others are looking for a career that offers more flexibility in addition to growth opportunities.
The Path Forward program helps by providing a structured roadmap for participants to upskill or reskill in the in-demand field of data analytics through education, coaching and mentorship. By learning data analytics, participants open the door to many career and advancement opportunities. We are then able to work with companies looking to recruit these qualified and diverse candidates by matching them with participants of the program. This is just one of the many ways Women in Data helps increase diversity in data careers.
When Women in Data partners with companies looking to hire more women in data-related roles, we not only help give them access to our community with qualified candidates, we also support them in retaining their workforce and creating a more inclusive culture.
CLC Human Resources Global Market survey found that organizations that have a diverse and inclusive workforce have employees with more intent to stay. Employees stay loyal and productive in organizations where all can thrive, and companies with a low attrition rate are more likely to attract future job applicants.
A diverse and inclusive workforce needs to be thoughtfully cared for. We can’t expect everyone’s professional journey to be the same. With a more diverse workforce, employers need to provide diverse resources as well as communities for employees to feel represented and included. Women in Data’s community and programs, provide the professional development opportunities that many companies want to provide. We help provide the platform for employees to access training, navigate their unique career path and find the personalized support so many of us need.
Women in Data provides opportunities for women to connect, grow, and lead throughout their career. Our core programs include mentorship, residency, study groups and life coaching, and these programs are all designed to complement a company’s professional development resources.
While we support our members through programs, we are continually advocating for and raising awareness of the need for diversity in the data field and beyond. Diversity and inclusion is not simply a box that can be checked, it must be nurtured and it takes continual work. For example, we encourage the companies we work with to continually evaluate their hiring and pay policies. Companies should measure and track their progress, listen to their employees and invest in the programs needed for their success.
At Women in Data, we also understand it’s not just diversity and inclusion that matter, but representation as well. Nearly 3 million people are expected to work in data and analytics careers in 2022. Currently, less than 30 percent of these individuals are women. We share a goal with many others to increase that number to 50 percent. We know we can’t reach this goal by supporting recruitment and retention efforts alone.
Women in Data presents several events throughout the year and hosts a podcast, Data Bytes, featuring data leaders from across the field. We want to provide a platform to showcase diverse voices and inspire others.
We continue to grow our programs and resources every year to support organizations and women in data around the world. By 2030, Women in Data hopes to support more than 100,000 members and 10,000 organizations.