Socitm, the representative body for public ICT professionals has launched a new online network to help raise the profile of women in the sector.
The new network, Socitm Women in IT, hosted on the Knowledge Hub platform, is being unveiled at an event today, which will hear from a range of prominent female speakers in ICT.
It is aimed at increasing the visibility of women in public sector digital posts and provides a forum for discussion and support.
Socitm president Nadira Hussein has initiated the network, after making increasing the visibility of women in the profession a key plank of her year at the helm of the organisation.
Hussein, who is One Oracle programme manager at oneSource, the shared service created by London boroughs of Newham and Havering, told PublicTechnology: “Workforce representation and involvement are predominant within the ICT sector. Some of the challenges we face include retaining women, as well as longer term issues including the recruitment process and promoting women into senior roles.”
The network, which already has 33 members, would be open to both public and private sector members, but will focus on addressing issues relevant to the public sector. It will also be open to ICT staff from outside the UK to address global issues, she said.
Hussein said: “The ICT sector felt a bit like a boys club when I joined, and it has been a personal mission to change that.”
Research published last month by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and the Tech Partnership, found that just one in ten ICT directors are women and that only 17% of the 1.18m ICT specialists working in the UK in 2014 were women – compared with a figure of 47% for the workforce as a whole.
Hussein said the shape of the network would be shaped by members, and that she would be looking for volunteers to act as a steering committee.
In addition, she has also commissioned a piece of research to examine the scale and make-up of the female workforce within public sector ICT departments.
Separately, said she was working on plans for a leadership programme specifically aimed at women and devising a work experience scheme to give teenagers a taste of the industry.
Speakers at today’s launch event include Chi Onwurah, the new shadow minister for the digital economy, Zena Cooke corporate director of resources at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Jackie Hudson, transition director for the Shared ICT Service of the tri-borough partnership of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster councils, and Christine Peacock, assistant director for corporate ICT at the London Borough of Hackney.
You can visit and join the Socitm Women in IT network at khub.net/web/socitm-women