Mayank Prakash, BCS President, in his most recent blog, shares his insights, pride and passion for diversity in the IT industry.

BCS has a longstanding partnership with Coding Black Females and ahead of Black History Month 2022, we wanted to create something tangible together.

A team of volunteers from Coding Black Females took over our annual BCS Diversity Report to focus specifically on the ‘Experiences of Black women in Information Technology’.

The report highlighted that whilst black women make up 1.8% of the UK workforce, they only make up 0.7% of IT professionals. That means for black women to be truly represented in IT there would need to be 20,000 more within the sector.

From a partnership to a story

Charlene Hunter MBE, CEO of Coding Black Females, said: ‘While there are some really inclusive IT organisations, our research with BCS found that successful black women (and women in general) working in tech are often where they are – in spite of the prevailing culture and limited flexibility in their working options, and lack of inclusive working culture’.

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This is really alarming and ultimately, we know that diverse IT teams and IT leaders, make better products that service the diversity of the consumer.

The report was more than a collection of quantitative information. Certainly, we shared key data insights but, alongside these, we interviewed several women working in the industry at different points of their IT career.

More than just data

Some of the comments from the report’s survey and interviews, were very concerning such as:

  • ‘I have had to work twice as hard to get as far as some of my white counterparts, often they have less experience than me.’
  • ‘Black women do not fit the tech archetype.’

The report also offered next steps and recommendation for the industry. These fell into four key areas where organisations and individuals can make a difference:

  • Interview and recruitment practices to be more inclusive
  • Leadership should set an example
  • Creating a diverse open culture goes beyond diversity policy
  • Partnering with groups who can help.

Watch the video

 

BCS hosted its first report launch event for, ‘The Experiences of Black Women in Information Technology’, with a panel discussion focused on the recommendations made in this report, including:

  • Jessie Auguste – Software Engineer @ CybSafe
  • Paul Williams FBCS FRSA - Technical Lead, Google Cloud Voice of the Customer, BCS Influence Board & F-TAG
  • Steph Itimi – CEO @ Seidea & Protegr (Disrupting Cybersecurity)
  • Mehret Habteab – Vice president, Digital Products @ Visa

I hope the report and the video inspire you to take action as together we can make a difference.