Breaking Barriers: 25 Years In The Tech Industry As A Woman

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 5 July 2023

Gwen Vaughan, Product Director, at Rant, shares her enthusiasm for a career in tech and her experience in breaking the barriers in the industry.

When I tell someone that I work in the tech industry, sometimes they are surprised as they think it’s an industry just for men, and some ask how I came to have a job in such a male-dominated industry. At Rant, a digital studio in Cardiff, UK, our board is now predominantly female, which makes me so proud to work for such an inclusive organisation.

However, the industry hasn’t always been this inclusive.
quarter of people working in the tech industry are women, which while still low, is a lot higher than when I started as a developer back in the late 90s. Back then, it used to be quite an intimidating and sometimes inappropriate environment to work in

However, I must say that even at that time, most of the challenges came from the older male colleagues. My peer group of young graduates treated me, and my female colleagues. no differently to the men. Over the years, more and more women have entered the tech industry, resulting in an increase in women in leadership positions.

women in tech

I believe that this is a really positive development because when I began my career, there were hardly any women in leadership roles. That sometimes made it feel unachievable, but now we see more diversity in leadership, which is inspiring.

I was fortunate to have a strong female role model in my mother while growing up. She instilled in me a positive mindset and taught me valuable lessons. One of the most impactful things she told me from a young age was, “Marriage isn’t a meal ticket.”

Her words resonated deeply and served as a reminder that my worth and success should not be dependent on anyone else. She encouraged me to pursue my interests and aspirations without being limited by societal gender norms. Her support and guidance empowered me to follow my passions and break free from any preconceived notions about what is expected of me as a woman. I am truly grateful for her wisdom and the lessons she imparted, which have shaped my journey and fuelled my determination to carve my own path in life.

national stem day

I graduated Cardiff Uni in 1997 with a degree in Ancient History, but after that I secured a place on the Tech Graduate scheme with Welsh Water and found my passion in development. I progressed from a Developer to a Senior Developer to a Lead Developer, and then a Delivery Manager. I moved then to be a Product Owner, focusing on business processes and users and how technology could create efficiencies, remove frustrations and provide a better user experience for customers and colleagues. 

From there, I was promoted to Strategy Manager, focussing on using technology as a lever to achieve strategic goals and objectives within the business. While I loved the analysis, influence and interactions as a Strategy Manager, I missed being close to project development, so joined Rant as Head of Delivery, which brought me closer to the product development process. This year I was promoted to Product Director and joined the board, which allows me to combine the best of both worlds.


These days the next generation has grown up in a digital-first world making tech an attractive industry to work in regardless of gender and I encourage men and women to consider it as their chosen career. The tech industry offers a perfect platform for leveraging strengths and presenting new and interesting challenges with its wide range of roles and diverse work opportunities. It’s a fast-moving industry where you can be at the forefront of exciting advancements, making a significant impact on people’s lives and the environment.

I don’t think anyone should be put off a career in tech due to feeling intimidated by others, or simply being told ‘it’s a man’s job’, as it’s just not how it is anymore. When choosing a career, in tech or any industry, everyone should follow their passion, use their initiative, be a helpful colleague and take control of their career themselves. Your gender should NEVER hold you back from achieving your goals or doing something that makes you happy.

Research has previously shown that having a diverse business can boost productivity by 35%. So while inclusivity is great for the individuals themselves, it’s also great for the day-to-day running of a business. Employees will feel more valued and accepted and this may be the reason for them to stick around too, hugely reducing staff turnover.

While the percentage of women working in tech has dramatically risen since when I started my career, I really do hope that this is something that can continue to grow and everyone feels more encouraged to pursue something that they really enjoy, without having any few pushbacks. In years’ to come, hopefully, the tech industry will be an even 50/50 split.

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