Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT

By Maggie Berry

Thanks to the lovely people at WITsend this will hopefully be the first of many guest blogs that I’ll be writing. I run, a career and networking website for women in IT, so I’m excited to be blogging here about lots of things that I feel strongly about! I thought it would be appropriate to start with something that epitomises that strength of feeling, so here goes…

At the beginning of October I packed my bags and headed to Brussels to attend the first general meeting of the ECWT – the European Centre for Women and Technology. I’m lucky enough to get lots of invites to events like this and I thought I would find out more about this one. It’s a new organisation with the same aim as womenintechnology and many others out there – to increase the participation of women in the IT sector. The most significant outcome of the meeting was the Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT.

It was great for us to sign the Code and to see our logo up there alongside so many big name signatories including Google, Microsoft, HP and SAP. The Code covers every area where it’s vital we concentrate on encouraging females into technology – education, university, recruitment, career development and returning to work / work-life balance. Signing up means we pledge our support for the overall goals of the Code and that our actions will be in line with it.

What I personally enjoyed the most about the Brussels event was having the opportunity to meet so many women from all over Europe, and even from the States, who are all actively supporting the same cause – increasing the number of women working and achieving in IT. I came away even better connected and having met some really interesting women – always a good thing!

• Currently, just 19 per cent of the IT and telecoms workforce in the UK is female, which indicates a fall of 4% since 2005.
• The number of female computing students has dropped at A Level, with now only 10% of them girls
• By 2010, there is expected to be a shortage of 300,000 qualified engineers in the EU but still fewer than one in five computer scientists are women.

Those statistics are just some of the reasons why womenintechnology and the other organisations that attended pledged support to the Code and its goals. Not only do we want to help the sector and our economy, we want to encourage more women into an exciting career which offers so many opportunities!

Has your company signed up yet? What are you waiting for?! Click here for more information.
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