Computer Weekly is this week launching its inaugural programme to recognise the most influential women in UK IT.
The initiative builds on our successful UKtech50 awards to highlight the most influential people in the UK tech scene – a roll-call that last year included just seven women. Worse still, that 14% figure is not unrepresentative of the proportion of women in the IT profession as a whole, which is around 18%.
The problem is even greater at senior levels: a recent CIO survey, which talked to 2,400 IT leaders in 20 countries, found just 7% of its respondents from the upper echelons of the profession were female.
Our women in IT awards aim to focus on role models and discuss the vital part that female IT leaders will take in making a difference to the future of IT. The 25 women selected on the list will automatically become part of the "longlist" of names from which this year's UKtech50 will be selected.
The winners will be announced at a special event on 12th July in London featuring talks from some of the female role models that will be so important to the future diversity of the tech community. Watch out for more details of this exciting event very soon.
The list of the 25 most influential women in UK IT will be selected by a judging panel of employers and IT leaders from across the industry, including:
- Maggie Berry, managing director, Women in Technology
- India Gary-Martin, managing director of investment banking technology and operations, JPMorgan
- Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer of IT services firm FDM Group
- Gary Bullard, Logica UK CEO
We will also invite readers to vote for their choice of the most influential woman in IT through an online vote, to start soon.
"The launch of Computer Weekly’s 25 most influential women in UK IT initiative is one step closer to achieving a gender balance within the IT and technology sectors," said Flavell.
"It is fantastic to see that such an influential title is making it a priority to create a platform for recognising and celebrating successful women in business and I am honoured to be part of it. It is imperative that we do what we can the increase the number and raise the status of women in the economic community and to challenge the mindsets of women considering a career in IT."
Gary-Martin said women can make a significant contribution in sectors such as IT, which are predominantly male.
"A different perspective, when at its best, leads to innovation.," she said. "Though under-represented in technology, there are some tremendous women making strides in big ways. As we aim to attract more female talent to technology, it is important that we demonstrate there are strong role models in the space both male and female. This list is important because it recognises technological innovation and talent in a unique way - from a female perspective."
Berry said it is important to highlight female role models in IT to encourage others to build a career in the sector.
"This is a fantastic initiative to uncover and celebrate the wealth of senior female talent that is currently succeeding in the UK’s technology profession. There are lots of unsung female technology heroes out there and we’re really keen to promote them and their work," she said.
"I also hope that through campaign, more young women will see the career success that can be achieved by working in technology and consider embarking on a career path in IT themselves helping to create a pipeline of future female talent for the industry."