My experience at Women in Data 2024

Last week, NatureSpace Data Officer, Caitlin, attended the Women in Data (WiD) Flagship Event, which took place at the O2 Intercontinental in London. The conference, attended exclusively by women, is the largest conference of its kind in the UK with three thousand data professionals in attendance, over 90 industry speakers and 42 workshops. Hosted annually, it serves as a platform to celebrate and empower women from all backgrounds and ultimately aims to drive forward the representation of women working in data – a notoriously male-dominated field.

In this blog post, Caitlin tells us more about her data role in NatureSpace and her experience at the WiD conference.

Tell us about your role at NatureSpace?

I joined NatureSpace in January 2023 as the third member of the Data Team, which has since expanded to six members – four of whom are women. My role in the team is focused on data analytics -specifically improving data visualisation within the company. We gather data on development impacts on newt habitats, the aquatic and terrestrial habitat compensation delivered by the Newt Conservation Partnership (NCP), and all our internal company metrics – so I create graphs and infographics to streamline and better communicate the data to our partners and the rest of the company, rather than sharing endless tables of numbers. I am responsible for a couple of monthly reports, which summarise the District Licensing Scheme for LPAs and NCP. I also create internal tools for the teams to help them out with their day-to-day jobs.

What made you want to attend WiD?

This conference intrigued me as WiD is such a large group of individuals that love data as much as I do, so I felt that I could learn a lot from hearing about their experiences and envelop myself in the community. I think having role models is really important, especially for women, and being able to see women who are just like me doing such incredible work is really inspiring.

What were your most memorable moments?

One of the big focuses for this year’s event was the data gap that exists between the real-life levels of violence against women and the amount that is actually reported and therefore recorded in crime statistics -this was a really hard-hitting segment of the day. I went to a talk that was on a project focused on closing this gap and I found this interesting. The speakers talked about the processes they used in their methodology and data analysis, gathering data from over 3000 of the WiD community and re-evaluating the Office of National Statistics’ data to petition for changes in how crimes are recorded.

I also loved a talk I went to which discussed the impacts that hormones have on women throughout their lives. Monthly cycles as well as the impact of contraceptive pills, menopause, and pregnancy are all somewhat taboo in the workplace when they are a day-to-day reality for every woman. Acknowledging our natural cycles and working with them enables you to set realistic goals and seek support when you need it.

How did you feel after attending WiD?

I left the conference feeling so empowered and so supported by the community. I spoke to so many women at all different stages of their careers, all of whom have worked so hard to get where they are now. There was an awards ceremony partway through the day to honour women who were nominated by their colleagues and friends for the work they do- the energy in the room was amazing. These weren’t celebrities or huge names in the industry, just regular women who have inspired those around them. It is incredible the impact it can have and the atmosphere it creates when you have 3000 people all who just want each other to succeed all in one room.

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You can register to join the Women in Data community for free here.