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Maggie Berry, one of the most prominent figures in increasing the number of women working and achieving in the UK’s IT profession, has received an OBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Currently executive director at WEConnect International, which she joined in December 2012, Berry is responsible for the management, leadership and development of the organisation’s network of registered and certified women business owners across the UK and Europe.
She has been involved with supporting women working in tech roles since 2005. In recent years, she has focused on raising awareness of women succeeding in the sector through initiatives such as Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in UK Technology Awards, of which she is a judge. She is also involved with the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
“Having more role models – and especially accessible role models – is incredibly important for inspiring more women to start working in, and remaining in, technology careers,” said Berry.
However, championing women in all sectors, including IT, is an ongoing challenge, said Berry.
“Even the news that female MPs aren’t paid maternity cover shows how far we are from achieving equality for women and men in the workplace,” she said. “We are all on this journey together to build inclusive environments that support everyone in a business.”
In the years to come, Berry plans to continue championing women in technology and working on projects related to attracting more women to the sector and developing conditions for them to thrive.
“My day job is involved with supporting women-owned businesses through a global supplier diversity campaign and I’d love to see more technology-related women-owned businesses who we could work with – those who have products and services that multinational corporations would buy from,” she said.
Berry also wants to inspire more girls to consider IT as a career option, as well as women being able to rejoin the industry more easily after a career break.
“I also want to see more positive female technology role models on TV and in blockbuster films,” she added.
Also in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, a CBE has been awarded to Sophie Wilson, pioneering computer scientist and co-creator of the first Acorn Micro computer.