Women now make up less than 20% of the UK’s 1.2 million IT workforce, so the announcement of this year’s GCS Women in IT Award medallists is a timely reminder to all IT employers that opportunities for women are important for the future of the profession.
The GCS Women in IT medallists in the 2006 BCS IT Professional Awards are: West Dunbartonshire Council, ThoughtWorks, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and AstraZeneca.
The award, which is part of the annual BCS IT Professional Awards, acknowledges employers who recognise the importance of diversity in the workplace and the benefits of a more gender balanced workforce. It is open to organisations that can demonstrate how they have enhanced career paths for women in IT.
It is just one element of a campaign by the BCS, through the Women’s Forum working group, to ensure that more women see IT as a career option.
Wendy Hall, chair of the Women’s Forum working group, explained why the award is important in encouraging women into the workplace and why the lack of women in IT must be addressed.
She said, “We need to address the gender imbalance in the IT industry to overcome the lack of skills that women bring to the workforce generally.
“All of us increasingly use IT in our daily lives but there are very few women involved in the design, development and management of IT systems.
“This award is an important step towards encouraging employers to address diversity within their IT departments and to ensure they offer career opportunities which are open to and supportive of both sexes.”
Research has shown that low representation of women in the profession is the result of negative stereotyping, continuing sexism in the workplace and inflexible working practices in meeting women’s needs to combine work with family responsibilities and the lack of incentives to return to work after career breaks.
GCS, the IT recruitment company that is sponsoring the award, said it is proud of its own 50/50 ratio of men and women in the company.
Managing director Chris Bartlett said, “We are delighted to be able to reward and encourage the efforts of companies that choose the best candidate for the job, focusing on the person, their skills and what they can bring to the organisation, department and role.”
Information on BCS membership: www.bcs.org/membership
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