The gender gap – why women’s influence has diminished in 2020

The gender gap – why women’s influence has diminished in 2020

Each year, the Tyto Tech 500 Power List identifies the most influential individuals across the UK in business, media and government. Over the past few years, we have seen more and more leading women represented in the rankings, thanks to a global push for more female leaders and influencers in the technology sector.

Unfortunately, that trend has come to a halt in 2020, as the proportion of women in the UK rankings has fallen from 34% in 2019 to 28%. Last year, there were four women in the UK Top 10, but this year there are just two.

So why has gender inequality widened in this year’s report? A major factor is, of course, the coronavirus. Study after study by the likes of the UN and the World Economic Forum show that women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

With schools and daycare centres forced to close, it was found that women were more likely to be burdened with childcare: research by the Fawcett Society showed that a third of working mothers reported having lost work or hours due to a lack of childcare during the crisis. Earlier this month, a report by the International Labour Organization showed that without subsidies such as coronavirus furlough schemes, women would have lost 8.1% of their wages in the second quarter of 2020, compared with 5.4% for men, according to a sample of 28 European countries. The UN has warned that improvements to gender equality risk being rolled back because of Covid-19.

It is highly unlikely that the influencer landscape has been unaffected by these economic trends. Clearly, there is much work to do in 2021 to achieve greater gender diversity in the technology industry.

It’s worth mentioning that while women are in the minority of influencers in all three countries covered in the Tyto Tech 500 Power List, women’s influence on the tech sector remains higher than their actual representation in it: only 17% of jobs within the tech sector are held by women. In France, women made up 27% of the rankings. In Germany, female representation in the influencer landscape actually improved, rising from 18% in last year’s Tech 500 Power List to 19% this year, with three women making it into the Top 10, compared to just one last year.

Who are some of the women to feature in this year’s Tech 500 Power List? The top-ranking female influencer in the UK is Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO of the health app evaluation and distribution organisation ORCHA. Her placement at #3 reflects the growing importance of digital health solutions and the broader focus on healthcare in the context of Covid-19.

The next highest placement is Emily Gosden, energy editor of The Sunday Times. Gosden has fallen from 1st place in last year’s report to 10th this year, as the coronavirus increased the influence of politicians: 40% of the UK Top 10 are government representatives. However, her high placement still reflects the prominence of GreenTech in the influencer landscape, as well as the continued importance of environmental issues.

Overall, while it is disappointing that gender inequality has increased in this year’s report, hopefully, this is a temporary blip and women’s voices will cut through once again in next year’s Power List. To find out more about the top female influencers in Europe, download the full report today.

Tyto Tech 500: Top 10 UK Women Influencers

  1. Liz Ashall-Payne – ORCHA
  2. Emily Gosden – The Times
  3. Amanda Solloway – Government
  4. Sarah Knapton – The Telegraph
  5. Ashley Armstrong – The Times
  6. Mary Portas – Portas
  7. Alison Clark-Wilson – UCL
  8. Elena Cinquegrana – BP
  9. Anne-Marie Imafidon – Stemettes
  10. Ecaterina Harling – EBRD