The Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) is on the hunt for partners and other support networks to launch a women in IT group.
The association of IT and digital professionals working for local public services aims to create a network to give more visibility to women working in technology.
Nadira Hussain, president of Socitm, shared the plans for a Socitm women in IT network with Computer Weekly.
Hussain is programme manager of One Oracle at oneSource, the shared service created by the London Boroughs of Newham and Havering, and will be making the women in IT network a priority while Socitm president.
She said she does not intend to try to “reinvent the wheel” and is aware there are already some powerful networks Socitm could join forces with.
“The Socitm women in IT network will be open to all. We are looking to attract partners and other networks already doing great things and would like to join forces,” said Hussain. “The network will offer coaching, mentoring and open discussions about career choices in both the public and private sector.”
“Women in the industry need more visibility and recognition to become the role models young girls can aspire to be,” she added.
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According to Hussain, it is important the industry has a range of role models that are visible to young females, as not all girls can relate to women in senior positions, nor do all girls aspire to hold such roles.
“It’s not just about being a public figure and getting to a dizzying height. It’s about making a contribution to your environment and services as a whole.
“You don’t have to reach the heights of CEO to be considered successful – we need to highlight professionalism and being really good at your job, no matter what it is, in technology,” she said.
One way to interest more girls into a career in IT is to focus on the purpose of technology, added Hussain.
“We should be selling the industry as a purpose. For example, Socitm is about delivering public services 24/7 to people, whether they are digitally enabled or not. If you can work in public services you can work anywhere because of its diversity and complexity.”
With over 20 years' experience in the technology industry, Hussain started her career as a microbiologist. In 1994, she decided to join the London Borough of Redbridge as a policy development and research officer in social care, and has since worked in the local government sector.
According to Hussain, Socitm also plans to launch a work experience scheme for young girls in the near future.
“We’re hoping to launch a girls' work experience scheme to show them how the public and private worlds work and deliver services together – that it’s not an us-against-them attitude, but it’s about partnering.”