35 easy ways to follow more women on Twitter

14 Oct 2016

Image: Belite/Shutterstock

How to follow more women on Twitter. Step one: Check out this list of recommendations. Step two: Follow more women on Twitter.

Last week, Motherboard revealed that Elon Musk followed a grand total of zero women on Twitter. (Since the article landed, Caity Weaver of GQ magazine has been added his follow list.)

As a follow-up, The Guardian checked the accounts of Musk’s fellow tech leaders, the results still being paltry for the women of the Twitterverse.

This discovery can easily be dismissed as trivial, but it can’t be denied that listening to and acknowledging the voices of women would be beneficial to leaders of an industry known to have a gender parity problem.

At 35, the below list is a mere sliver of the recommendations myself and my colleagues could make. These came quickly off the top of our heads and then we had to stop or else we would be writing this list for an eternity.

It’s almost as if women on Twitter are as engaging, informative, entertaining and worthy of follows as any other account.

Twitter has been an instrumental tool for us to discover new voices in science and technology, which is why we welcome all of our followers to help us grow this list. Before we start adding the many more women in our circles, tell us the women you follow and want to add with the hashtag #SheKnows. Use this list to expand your network and share it with others who might need some more tweeting women in their life. It just might help.

Inspirefest 2017

Mary McKenna (@MmaryMcKenna)

A sought-after mentor, Mary McKenna describes herself as an Irish entrepreneur, storyteller and “collector of people”. If you do happen to be ‘collected’ by McKenna, you are likely to end up in her Twitter feed in a selfie with the woman herself.

Dr Sue Black (@Dr_Black)

Perhaps now best known as the woman who wrote Saving Bletchley Park, Dr Sue Black is also founder of Techmums, a social enterprise empowering mothers and their families through technology. An award-winning computer scientist, Black has proved a huge hit at Inspirefest two years in a row and, early this year, she was honoured with an OBE for her services to technology.

Much like McKenna, Black is a fan of a selfie and her Twitter feed is never short of fun photo posts.

Ellen Pao (@ekp)

Ellen Pao was in the centre of a tech media storm last year as she fought a gender discrimination case against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Now, she is embarking on a project to bring inclusion to tech. Appropriately dubbed Project Include, part of that agenda is sparking discussion on how to foster inclusion in an industry now well known not to practise it.

Tracy Chou (@triketora)

Tracy Chou is also part of the Project Include family, having jumped onto the tech media’s radar in 2013 when she began to document the gender gap through crowdsourcing data. A former Pinterest engineer, Chou “turns coffee into code” and enjoys yoga and running – her Twitter feed reflecting all these personal and professional interests.

Arlan Hamilton (@ArlanWasHere)

Somehow, I wasn’t even following Arlan Hamilton until now. She is retweeted so often by the others I follow, it felt like I was. With a background in the music business, Hamilton has set up her own VC fund, Backstage Capital, to support companies led by black, Latino, gay or female founders. Her feed is full of fun and snappy observations, and somewhat star-struck moments with the likes of Phil Dunphy and Eleven.

Isis Anchalee (@isisAnchalee)

“Disrupting your sea of homogeneity”, it’s the powerhouse Isis Anchalee, the woman who started the #iLookLikeAnEngineer trend (and somewhat of a revolution, dispelling stereotypes and spawning similar movements in its wake). One year on, Anchalee is still spreading the good word of women in tech.

Andreea Wade (@brandalisms)

CEO of the newly launched Opening, Andreea Wade has been on my Twitter feed for a long time. I’ve watched her network in start-up scenes around the world, and right now you can follow her as she embarks on a new adventure with her latest start-up.

Shivvy Jervis (@shivvyjervis)

Award-winning speaker, futurist and #Tech series creator and host, Shivvy Jervis is one of Britain’s top women in tech, sharing insights on tech for good in the UK.

Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer)

Two-time author Nilofer Merchant has a reputation as a Silicon Valley business guru, earning her the nickname ‘the Jane Bond of Innovation’. To date, the video of her TED talk has had more than 2m views, while her 53,000 Twitter followers enjoy book recommendations, cultural observations, links to great content and more.

Monica Parker (@monicacparker)

“Occasional opera singer” Monica Parker is full-time founder of Hatch Analytics and full of data-led insights you might find useful. Lately, her feed is also preoccupied with the goings-on in her UK home post-Brexit – an interesting and challenging time to be a British entrepreneur, no doubt.

In a keynote talk at Inspirefest 2016, Monica Parker delivered her four Cs for creating a motivated workforce. It sounds simple, but it’s not.

Laurie Winkless (@laurie_winkless)

Laurie Winkless is a recent follow for me after I heard about the physicist-turned-writer’s new book, Science and the City. (My copy arrived this week.)

This Irish feminist in London is a contributor to Forbes’ science division, but she’s also great at writing in just 140 characters.

Claire O’Connell (@claireoconnell)

Yes, full disclosure, Irish Science Writer of the Year 2016 Claire O’Connell is a Siliconrepublic.com contributor. That’s her face you see at the bottom of our weekly Women Invent series, where she profiles women working in science and technology (and many of those women – amazingly – are also on Twitter!).

O’Connell is also mammy to none other than teenage coding wunderkind Niamh Scanlon, as well as a lecturer at Dublin City University and soon-to-be published children’s book author.

Ciara Judge (@CiaraFudgyJudgy)

Try not to get jealous of this teen’s mega levels of success as she travels the world, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bill Gates and Nile Rodgers (whom she calls ‘uncle’). Judge was one-third of a winning BT Young Scientist team and now balances being co-founder of three ventures as she embarks on her third-level education.

Yes, that is a picture of her doing a TEDxTeen talk in her pyjamas as her cover photo. This is the kind of surprising stuff you encounter when you follow remarkable young women on Twitter.

Mary Carty (@marycarty)

Mary Carty goes to a lot of awards ceremonies these days because she is consistently recognised as a leading social entrepreneur (though she may correct you on your use of that term). As executive director of NUI Galway Blackstone Launchpad, Carty has her finger on the pulse of what’s to come in the next start-up generation. In fact, she also has a hand in ensuring the next-genners are a more gender-balanced bunch, as co-founder of the world’s first STEM incubator for girls.

Anne-Marie Imafidon (@aimafidon)

Grown-up child genius Anne-Marie Imafidon likes maths, tech and helping others. She brings these together as founder of Stemettes and co-founder (with Carty, above) of Outbox Incubator. With these initiatives, Imafidon is making sure society doesn’t miss out on the next Marie Skłodowska-Curie.

Ellyn Shook (@EllynJShook1)

If you are interested in learning things about building successful company culture, Ellyn Shook, chief human resources officer at Accenture, is your woman. Named in Forbes as one of the top 10 CHROs worldwide, Shook delivered a stirring keynote at Inspirefest 2016 explaining why diversity is so important, and how the professional services company has made diversity and inclusion part of its mission.

Sharon Vosmek (@Vosmek)

Sharon Vosmek is one of my absolute favourite speakers but since I can’t see her drop truth bombs on stage as often as I would like, Twitter is a neat in-between fix. As the straight-talking CEO of Astia, Vosmek leads a community of experts committed to propelling women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses.

Kara Swisher (@karaswisher)

Kara Swisher is co-executive editor of a leading online tech publication in the US and has over 1m Twitter followers, yet somehow this vast figure includes only three of the 12 male tech leaders investigated by The Guardian. Go. Figure.

Swisher is also host of Recode’s Decode podcast, and following her is a great way to find out who she’s interviewing before the next episode hits.

Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla)

‘Planetary evangelist’ Emily Lakdawalla is a planetary scientist, public speaker and writer. She works as senior editor at the Planetary Society, a non-profit organisation that promotes the exploration of space through education, advocacy and public outreach. She’s currently writing a book on the Mars Curiosity mission in between sending eye-opening space-based tweets.

Dr Mel Thomson (@DrMel_T)

Melbourne’s finest, Dr Mel Thomson describes herself as a “recovering” academic microbiologist and nascent “shill” of medtech, pharma and Australian innovation. “Always a feminist” says her bio and it’s evident in her tweets, as Thomson calls out gender bias in science – unconscious or otherwise – where she sees it.

Lucy Rogers (@DrLucyRogers)

Inspirefest 2015 speaker Dr Lucy Rogers is a scientist, maker, Robot Wars judge and robot dinosaur enthusiast, and her tweets reflect as much. If you want advice on how to program a dinosaur, this is where to get it.

Elena Rossini (@_elena)

Follow filmmaker, photographer, social entrepreneur and “real-life Lisa Simpson” Elena Rossini on Twitter as she screens her film The Illusionists around the world in various languages. Attendees at the Inspirefest Fringe Festival in 2015 were treated to a screening of this powerful film about media influence on women’s body image, as well as details of Rossini’s business, Gender Gap Grader, on the main stage at the event.

Through connections made at Inspirefest, Rossini has recently taken on a new mission with Lottie dolls maker, Arklu, to help encourage girls everywhere to engage in STEM.

Claire Calmejane (@ccalmeja)

Claire Calmejane is the director of innovation at Lloyds Banking Group and a recognised leader in fintech. As a prominent figure, Calmejane is booked to speak at events all over the place (including Inspirefest 2016), and you can follow these movements along with her fintech and digital disruption insights on Twitter.

Kelly Hoey (@jkhoey)

One of the star speakers at Inspirefest 2016, judging by reactions on Twitter, Laconia Capital investor Kelly Hoey derived her advice for the audience from her forthcoming book, Build Your Dream Network. Hoey has tips to help people become top networkers even if the word itself makes them wither. Having witnessed Hoey make friends left, right and centre when in Dublin this summer, I can attest to her networking know-how. Additionally, as the host of podcast Broad Mic, she brings chats with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders to your ears on a weekly basis.

Cindy Gallop (@cindygallop)

What do you mean you don’t follow Cindy Gallop? Do you even Twitter?

Gallop is many things – a powerhouse, a brand maven, “the Michael Bay of business”, a sextech entrepreneur, a social activist, a powerful public speaker – and all of these facets are wonderfully fed through prolific tweets. Frequent user of the #changetheratio hashtag, Gallop’s tweets are chock-full of entrepreneurial insight and frank commentary on gender inequality.

Kimberly Bryant (@6Gems)

Kimberly Bryant and her organisation, Black Girls Code, are enjoying the limelight following a recent cameo on hit Fox show, Empire. Bryant founded Black Girls Code in 2011 to help one of the most underrepresented demographics of coders through a series of workshops, hackathons and summer camps. She spoke at Inspirefest 2015 about her aim to teach coding to 1m girls worldwide by 2040, to equip them with “the skills to hack human rights”.

Simone Giertz (@SimoneGiertz)

Stockholm’s “queen of shitty robots and mistress of malfunction”, Simone Giertz’s Twitter is an endless source of maker magic and fun. The Swedish YouTuber has gained such notoriety as a robot-maker that she now tweets about hanging with Adam Savage from Mythbusters and making videos for GoldieBlox.

Sinéad Burke (@minniemelange)

Now is a key time to start following Sinéad Burke as it’s Dwarfism Awareness Month and she is educating us all on what life is like for little people. PhD candidate, chair of the Inclusive Fashion and Design Collective, and blogger extraordinaire, Burke believes in the life-changing power of social media, making her Twitter stream all the more powerful.

Jessamyn Fairfield (@ultrajessamyn)

Fresh from an appearance on Pantisocracy, the new radio series hosted by Panti Bliss, physicist and nanoscientist Jessamyn Fairfield finds time to tweet between being a super science communicator, ukulele player, comedian and Bright Club co-ordinator – though you can expect this academic comedy night to come to Galway, now that Fairfield has made the move west.

Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary)

Considered a brand influencer, Tamara McCleary is a prolific Twitterer with over 130,000 followers to her name. Speaking at and attending events around the world, McCleary’s tweets offer insight on all aspects of the tech industry for leaders and followers alike.

Sheree Atcheson (@nirushika)

Deloitte consultant Sheree Atcheson is the UK expansion director of Women Who Code, responsible for WWC Belfast, WWC London and WWC Bristol outreach. She also had a hand in the launch of Women Who Code Dublin, announcing the move from the Inspirefest stage in 2015. Expect tweets all about advancing women in the tech industry and encouraging a pipeline of talent among young girls. Just the kind of thing tech industry heads should be aware of, really.

Mags Amond (@magsamond)

Now is as good a time as any to start following Mags Amond on Twitter. This Saturday (15 October) marks the beginning of EU Code Week, for which Amond is Ireland’s ambassador. Researching a PhD in education at Trinity College Dublin and serving as a member of the Computers in Education Society of Ireland, this Carlow woman’s tweets come from the front line of the future of education.

Vicky Twomey-Lee (@whykay)

Pythonista, coder, cat hugger and extremely capable tech event organiser, Vicky Twomey-Lee’s Twitter account might be the key to discovering how she manages to be everywhere at once. Her latest in a multiplicity of roles sees her serving as tech consultant to Career Zoo, organising hacks and coding workshops at the coming event.

Liz Jackson (@elizejackson)

Liz Jackson’s tweets from the perspective of a person with a disability are not sent to inspire you, but they will certainly inform you. Founder of the Inclusive Fashion and Design Collective, Jackson has teamed up with Sinéad Burke (above), creating a powerhouse of social media awareness on how design impacts lives.

Ann O’Dea (@AnnODeaSR)

Yes, this is obvious bias. Ann O’Dea is CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic, the company behind the very website on which you are reading this list. Because I am very obsessive about my job, I practically stalk O’Dea on Twitter, keeping tabs on her complete tweet stream. So I am more than qualified to let you know that this is an account worth following. (Expect dogs and birds.)

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

Updated, 14 October 2016 at 11.10pm: The original version of this article mistakenly referred to Mags Amond as a ‘Cavan woman’ when she is, in fact, from Carlow. The author regrets this error and apologises to Carlow for denying them a model citizen.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.