Help us to recognise the role models for women in IT

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We're proud to this week launch our second annual quest to select the 25 most influential women in UK IT.

The issues affecting women in technology have only become more important and high profile in the past 12 months. National newspapers have picked up on the theme - our poll last year even got a mention on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour show.

In that time we've also launched a LinkedIn group for women in IT, which has proved extremely popular. Women in IT is a thriving community of interest, and a positive influence on the wider profession.

Last year's programme, which saw Thomson Reuters CIO Jane Moran voted the most influential woman in UK IT, was a big success and generated a lot of debate. We've since seen a definite increase in the number of female IT leaders attending our monthly CW500 networking events - although they are still a minority.

The issues that continue to restrict women to barely 18% of the UK IT workforce have not gone away though - a macho, male-dominated, geeky image; inflexible working patterns; difficulties catching up with new technologies for women returning after career breaks to have children; and so on.

But there has rarely been wider appreciation of the problem, and of the benefits of having more women in the IT workplace. More IT leaders say they want to recruit more women - although often the challenge is finding enough women with the right skills to apply for such positions.

The IT industry is changing the way everyone works and lives - with flexible and remote working becoming key to resolving work/life balance issues, as well as making organisations more agile and mobile. As such, IT leaders need to take the initiative to make the IT profession one which exemplifies such principles and comes to be seen as one of the most female-friendly sectors to work in.

IT needs a workforce that has the skills, experience, and diversity to innovate through technology - and one that reflects the diversity of the people using technology every day.

It is often said that women are less likely than men to promote themselves. Identifying the most influential women in UK IT is our way to help get over that - and if you know a female in IT who deserves greater recognition as a role model for others, please let us know.

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