We’ve been asked a few times why we put together an award and an event to showcase women in IT. It’s quite simple – we don’t want to have to discuss the issue of women in IT again.
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How much better it would be if this was no longer a topic of such debate? That would mean that we had a truly diverse workforce in IT, one that reflected the technology users it serves and took advantage of the range of skills available from employees of every age, gender, race or creed in the UK.
It would mean that as we look to find the 250,000 new entrants to the IT profession that are forecast to be needed over the next five years, employers would be able to choose from the widest source of talent possible.
It would also mean that at school, boys and girls equally saw IT as a desirable career to pursue, creating a pipeline of the skills required to develop the UK as a high-tech economy.
So, since none of those things are true at the moment, we thought it was a good idea to recognise the most influential women in UK IT, and promote them as role models to help get a little closer to the sort of situation, as described above, that we should be able to take for granted.
Several guests at our event commented that they didn’t realise there were so many women in senior IT leadership positions in the UK – just take a look at the 25 names on our list. It’s certainly true to say that male IT leaders are far more likely to successfully self-publicise as a means to enhance their career prospects. Women are more likely to just get on with the job, and hope they will be acknowledged as such. We felt it was only right to give some of them that public acknowledgement.
But this is not about promoting women in IT, for the sake of women in IT. As Jane Moran, the Thomson Reuters CIO voted as the most influential woman in UK IT, points out – companies with a more diverse workforce are more successful. This isn’t an esoteric do-gooder cause – it’s good business sense. More women in IT means their employers make more money. It’s as simple as that.
We will be back with another women in IT event next year. Wouldn’t it be great if it could be the last one?