10 exceptional experts for International Women’s Day you can connect with on ResponseSource
By Vanessa McGreevy
2 Mar 2020
The media is becoming increasingly aware of the need to
represent its readers better and initiatives like the BBC 50:50 project
New Voices have made huge steps to increase gender balance in the experts
they interview. Although many other groups need to see their stories and
experience reflected in the news stories they read, International Women’s Day
offers one opportunity to highlight some of the women experts available to add
diversity of experience to stories in all sectors.
Yael’s story: Mum-of-three Yael Asseraf Shenhav can offer insightful stories about her career in tech and how the roles and perceptions of women in the tech industry have changed drastically – particularly since she was head hunted by Intel at 24 in 1998. As part of the early core development team at Mellanox, Yael has contributed to the conception, design, SW development architecture and support of all of the Mellanox host adapters throughout the tech company’s evolution. She speaks incredibly highly of her employer and how directors are, and have been, incredibly supportive of her career progression and position as a mother.
Jessica Nordlander, Chief Operating Officer at enterprise
crowdsourcing firm Thoughtexchange
Jessica’s story: Jessica serves on the board of several tech start-ups and contributes to Forbes.com as a member of the Forbes Technology Council (an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives). She’s written about subjects relating to the future of women in leadership/in the boardroom and eroding bias. She’s passionate about more women studying STEM subjects and entering the world of tech.
A story Jessica would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘I think it is a myth that women want different things to men, that the “improvements” in workplace culture that women are asking for are somehow only applicable to them – I believe most humans want similar things, regardless of gender, skin colour or sexual orientation.’
Michelle’s story: Michelle has gone above and beyond to use her leadership and innovation to drive D&I initiatives at Workhuman. She is passionate about supporting women within STEM, and champions progressive programmes and workplace practices that encourage and allow more women to pursue careers in tech. She was the driver behind Workhuman joining the 30% Club and has established coaching programmes, upskilling courses, and companywide networking workshops for women. Michelle actively leads the company’s Women’s Network and spearheads Workhuman’s Women ReBOOT programme, an initiative which supports women with tech skills and experience in their return to work after a career break.
A story Michelle would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘Why we need more women in the tech sector.’
Jan’s story: Jan chairs Energy & Utility Skills, the official workforce body for the energy and utilities sector. A global entrepreneur and founder of Corrotherm International, Jan has a BSc in Engineering. Jan believes passionately in diversity and the importance of attracting more females into an industry that is vital to society and key to achieving Net Zero by 2050. Energy & Utilities Jobs (jobs board), facilitated by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, is one initiative that is attracting thousands of women to the sector. These women will be the workforce that deliver decarbonisation towards a more sustainable future.
A story Jan would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘A workforce with more women means better business and increased profits – compelling journalism showing the overwhelming value that gender diversity brings to business performance. For example, using the evidence that companies like my members SSE plc have pioneered, alongside research from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.’
Dr Thomas’ story: ‘For the second year running, I am co-ordinating the xCHANGE festival at Birmingham City University, marking International Women’s Day 2020. This year’s programme not only features 2019 festival favourites: #ShowTheSash, the BIG Read and the Feminist Playlist, but also a range of new events and activities devised by staff and students across the disciplines including architecture, engineering, law, music and poetry. The Athena SWAN charter recognises and celebrates good practices in higher education and research institutions towards the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.’
A favourite female journalist: ‘Marina Hyde keeps me sane in an insane world.’
Dr Weckesser’s story: Dr Wessecker and colleagues undertake research that seeks to tackle the taboos that surround girls’ and women’s health (particularly menstruation) and sexuality. She focuses on endometriosis, a menstrual health condition that affects 10% of women, but receives relatively little attention due to the stigmas that surround the conditions’ symptoms (painful and heavy periods, painful intercourse, etc.). Dr Wessecker is currently preparing a series of research briefs on young people’s period experiences and education needs for Plan International UK and Brook, as part of their Let’s talk.Period initiative. On Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March she is organising the UK’s first social research symposium on endometriosis, and recently also organised a feminist porn festival to fight taboos around women’s sexuality and pleasure.
A story Dr Weckesser would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘The need to believe girls’ and women’s experiences of menstrual ill health and to tackle the taboos that remain around this subject.’
Jenene’s story: Jenene has battled infertility, major surgery and founder burnout to become one of the foremost female tech CEOs in her sector. Not only has she faced institutionalised sexism as a woman in the male-dominated tech sector, but she also had the gall to champion technology primarily used by women – something that male VCs sometimes don’t see as worthy of investment.
A story Jenene would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘Why hair and beauty is a feminist issue, not something that women should have to pretend to shun in order to be taken seriously by men in business.’
Heather’s story: ‘Born in Silicon Valley, I have spent my career working across the technology industry helping founders and CEOs, building and fixing companies and their products. As a woman in technology I have found it’s an industry behind many in terms of equality and representation (not just for women, but sexuality, BAME, and age discrimination) and have focussed my free time in mentoring and speaking at events with this in mind. I have been mentoring women and BAME for many years to help these individuals learn and strive for their goals.’
A story Heather would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘I would like to see a story not just about being a women in tech, but about those making the industry better for all including talking about bringing in the older demographics into the industry, BAME, women, those with disabilities, and hiring outside of the norm.’
A favourite female journalist: ‘Olivia Solon has done so much in journalism. I am boggled with how much trolling she gets, yet she stays strong and is incredibly professional. I admire everything about her and her work.’
Michelle’s story: Michelle is a leading businesswoman and entrepreneur, known for creating and selling the Ultimo underwear brand. She was appointed the Start-Up Business Tsar by David Cameron and regularly sits in the House of Lords with a focus on women in business and mentoring. Michelle owns a number of personal invention patents and is keen to promote female inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Caroline’s story: Caroline is the CEO of Leadership Through Sport & Business, a social mobility charity that prepares and supports bright young people who face disadvantage into meaningful work through high quality apprenticeships with major firms. The charity partners with Premier League Football Club foundations and major corporates such as Macquarie, NatWest and Salesforce develop leadership and employability skills to prepare young people for the professional workplace. Scores of young women have already benefited from the program and LTSB wants to do even more to help empower the next generation of women in business and tech.
A story Caroline would like to see covered around International Women’s Day: ‘It would be great to work on a story for IWD on why more young women should consider apprenticeships for a career in historically male dominated professions such as finance and tech.’
On the Journalist Enquiry Service you can reach thousands of expert sources in all sectors; this is just a snapshot of the calibre of exceptional and expert women, ready to talk about International Women’s Day or their specific areas of expertise that you can connect with today. If you particularly want to interview one of these individuals drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you – otherwise, head to responsesource.com/send to reach these and many more people who can help you with a story today.