The momentum around Women in Technology shows no sign of slowing down and that’s very welcome. For too long the technology industry has side-lined the issue to the detriment of businesses and customers, but slowly we’re starting to see things change.
Take Martha Lane Fox’s comments at the Cheltenham Literary Festival this past weekend. The Lastminute.com founder said: “The absence of women from the teams that are making the internet, the product designers, the coders, the engineers, the absence of women in the venture capital community [is baffling]. I think it is really profoundly important because this is where the industrial revolution of our time is. If women are absent from it I think we will go back in time.”
More and more people are speaking up, and it is gradually becoming accepted wisdom that the presence of women is vital to each and every company’s success. Grant Thornton, a business advisory firm, found that publicly traded companies with male-only executive directors missed out on £430bn of investment returns last year. This stark illustration will hopefully add to the long list of reasons for creating a more equal workforce. We’re making some progress on the percentage of women employed in technology, and on the gender pay gap, but more action is required.
We also need to dispel the notion that a career in IT or technology is a “man’s job”. A lot of this should be done at an early age when women are choosing their degrees and careers, and offered the chance to code at school. And once they enter the workforce, we need to offer support to ensure women don’t leave to pursue another career outside of technology. This vital support often takes the form of mentoring, and there being role models women can emulate. That’s why I’m so honoured to celebrate the amazing work that is currently underway here in the UK. Those nominated are at the cutting-edge of their fields, and are managing and building companies that are competing and winning at a global level. To say they act as an inspiration for women coming into the industry is an understatement, and it is very difficult to choose just one winner in each category.
My colleagues and I are very excited to welcome the winner of the PCR Rising Star Woman of the Year to CONTEXT and will be delighted to introduce them to an in-depth view of drivers in the technology market.
Just finally, I’d like to say good luck to everyone involved!