The A-Star Awards, now in its third year, will identify the best female A-level computing students the UK and pit them against each other in a tiebreaker competition to find the brightest female IT school-leaver in the UK.
Ailsa Symeonides, sales and marketing director at the awards' principal sponsor, software firm Axios Systems, called the awards "a lynchpin of increasing efforts to unlock the potential of women in the IT industry".
Currently less than 25% of UK computing professionals and fewer than 10% of programmers are women.
"More and more organisations are realising that IT needs far more women if it is to overcome its current skills shortage in certain areas," Symeonides said. "The industry needs not only to recruit greater numbers of women but to ensure they occupy more senior roles."
Accenture and IBM are co-sponsoring the awards, which have the backing of the government, lobby groups and Computer Weekly. "We are delighted to lend our support to attempts to increase the number of women choosing to forge a career in IT," said Computer Weekly editor Karl Schneider.