Sector skills body e-skills has brought together influential women in IT from companies across a range of industries to launch its Girls in IT campaign. The Girls in IT Steering Group is made up of representatives from companies including the BBC, Infosys, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, lastminute.com, Ford, Accenture, Centrica and British Airways.
The group aims to address the problem of the lack of women in IT. Women account for just 15 percent of students on computing degrees, and only 17 percent of the IT professional workforce are women, according to e-skills.
Entrepreneur and tech blogger Hermione Way, is working with e-skills with its campaign. She said: “Young people today are digital natives who can’t imagine living without Facebook or the latest apps for their phones. But when asked about a career in IT they instantly think boring spreadsheets and databases.
"Girls in particular are shying away from IT education, which they perceive as the preserve of geeky boys. It is so important that we work together to show girls the true potential of technology and inspire them with the exciting possibilities of an IT career."
Through its campaign, e-skills is working with employers on efforts to encourage women into the IT industry.
This will include a range of activities, for example, members of the steering group will provide online content, such as videos and articles, to support a campaign on e-skills’ careers website BigAmbition, as part of ‘Women’s Month’, which launches on 1 October.
They will also promote inspirational female role models in IT from their organisations on the website, and promote the Girls in IT campaign throughout their companies and via social networks.
Members of the steering group will also develop networks of female technology professionals who will work with schools, for example, by giving talks and hosting workshops, to promote IT careers to female students.
A spokesperson for e-skills said: “The group brings together influential females in technology from a wide range of organisations who together can scale up the reach and impact of the campaign, through sharing best practice, working collaboratively and jointly promoting the initiative through all available channels.
“Following this initial meeting, the group will be communicating and meeting regularly over the next few months to further shape the campaign and build on the initial activity already being undertaken.”
Members of the steering group include Rain Ashford, technologist for BBC Backstage, Sara Caplan, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Helen Cook, retail director at IBM, Jayne Miles, IT director at Ford Credit Europe, Sophia Swain, enterprise architect at Centrica and Michele Barker, head of software and IT services at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.