Inspirational Women Working in Data Protection

Posted on 08/03/2019

Women at big data event

Much like Data Privacy, women being recognised for their valuable role in the work place and women rising to the tops of their careers are recent developments in human history. The right to equality which made these possible for some continues to be fought long and hard for, and some career fields have been more welcoming than others. There is currently a larger percentage of men than women who show interest in pursuing a career in a STEM subject, but that gap is gradually closing.

Modern Career Choices 

A career field even more recent in its development than equality in the workplace is that of data, and even younger than that: data protection. The speed of the data field’s advancement and scope of its potential has been totally unprecedented, and its status as a very new field of work opens up many opportunities. Data in its nature is accessible and seemingly endless, the industry has come about organically through the rapidly developing technology we all use, which means those who wish to work in the field are but a click away from their new career. Unlike some careers where entry into the field is all about who you know, data functions around what you know. Despite this, it can seem like the number of women you meet in this field is small compared to that of men, and perhaps this is because many young women are not developing an interest in data as much as men?

Women in Big Data

Women in Big Data

As experts in Data Protection and Data Privacy, priviness wanted to find out what women working in data say about their experiences with this rapidly evolving industry. Our very own Shionagh Gilchrist represented priviness at the Women in Big Data event earlier this week and asked a few of the speakers what they would say to encourage young women trying to figure out their career move.

Helena Guerra (Senior Manager Big Data Technology at Vodafone UK):

“It depends on what it is you like to do… if you are curious and like to understand the collation of data and answer queries I’d do a degree in Maths or Physics”. 

Elspeth Finch (MBE and CEO and founder of IAND):

“Understand what you really enjoy, and pursue it – for me, I learn by doing, personally I love digital design… So you talk to people, attend meet ups, anything relevant to what you’re interested in.”

Kellie Peters (Director and Data Rockstar at Databasix UK):

“Be passionate; what gets you up in the morning? As women we often find that we have a natural skill with people, and if you’re going to offer anything that will actually work for your customers, then you need to have social skills and understand people. Find your tribe of people to work with and find the best ways of communicating to be able to translate what you do to get people passionate about it.”

Wendy Somerville (Head of Operational Excellence at Vodafone Business):

“Similarly, the application of data and how customers use it and respond to it – that gets me up in the morning.”

By far, what priviness discovered the most when talking to women in this field was the absolute passion they have for what they do. Shionagh Gilchrist came back inspired:

“As a woman working in data protection myself, I find this to be the most important element; because this is such a new career field that continues to evolve by the second, being passionate seems to be the only way to increase consumer awareness of their rights to data privacy.

“To any young female student considering their career choices right now, I would say this: From meeting some amazingly passionate and successful women in the data field, I have seen the variety of careers available to us, all of them valuing different passions and strengths. Whatever your passion is, whatever your strengths are, there is a path for you in data and data protection. My passion is for writing and for our human right to privacy, so that is exactly what I’m doing. If you are reading this and are interested in entering the data privacy field, we’d love to talk to you, this industry thrives on passion, so come and bring your passions to the table.”

Women watching big data speakers

Contact priviness on or call our offices on +44 203 2878 243 to chat about the opportunities available in data protection and privacy.

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