The success of BCSWomen to champion women working in IT, has been recognised after the group was shortlisted for its category at the prestigious 2023 Women in IT Awards.

The awards ceremony celebrated women, allies, and organisations from across UK for their outstanding contributions to the technology industry.

BCSWomen was shortlisted in the category, Outstanding Diversity Network of the Year, and a group from BCSWomen attended the February event at the JW Marriott hotel, Park Lane, London.

“Exceptional” entry in a strong field

The 2023 Women in IT Awards team stated:

“We received over 200 submissions across over 100 unique companies and your entry stood out as exceptional amongst a very strong field of submissions. You should be really proud to have made it on the shortlist.”

Andrea Palmer, Chair of BCSWomen, attended the event along with BCSWomen representatives, Nicola Martin, Tristi Tanaka and Jo Stansfield.

“We had a fantastic evening at the 2023 Women in It Awards,” said Jo, founder and director of Inclusioneering Ltd and Co-Chair and Treasurer of BCS Women. “Although we didn’t win our category, I’m so proud of the work we are doing with BCSWomen and proud to have been shortlisted for Outstanding Diversity Network of the Year.”

Nicola Martin, Head of Quality at Adarga and BCSWomen Inclusion officer, agreed; “What an honour to proudly represent BCSWomen at an incredible event and venue. Congratulations to all the nominees, initiatives and winners.”

Andrea Palmer, Chair of BCSWomen and BCS Fellow, continued; “We were thrilled to be shortlisted and our success at the 2023 Women in IT Awards recognises all the BCSWomen volunteers who support other women in IT, whether it is through mentoring, running soft and technical skill workshops or providing a support network for our peers. It demonstrates that when we come together and work as one team, we can truly make IT good for society.

“Recognition like this encourages us to continue to provide support and skills for others, such as developing more taster sessions and widening our reach so we can help more people and hopefully inspire and increase the number of women in tech which sadly is still around 20%.”

One of the largest groups for women in tech

Founded in 2001, BCSWomen remains one of the largest and most active membership groups for women in tech, with over 830 members. Run by volunteers, it provides networking opportunities for all professional women working in IT around the world, and is dedicated to supporting for female IT professionals, as well as mentoring and encouraging girls/women to enter, or return to, IT as a career with the aim of tackling the industry's gender gap.

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“For more than two decades, the number of women in tech has remained around 17%,” explained Andrea. “There is a skills shortage and yet companies are still fishing for candidates in the same pond, when they could be looking internally and broadening their appeal. The tech industry needs to increase its diversity, not only regarding gender, and be more inclusive and equitable.”

BCSWomen was shortlisted after outlining its recent successes in its submission to the Women in IT Awards.

A year of success and achievement

Throughout 2022, BCSWomen ran monthly taster sessions aimed at returners, those at an early stage in their career and upskilling the over 50s. The sessions highlighted transferrable skills and give insights into topics that include: business analysis, project management, careers in agile, business change, consultancy, testing and more.

BCSWomen is a supporting partner for TechUp, providing a group of mentors to the programme. The 2021-22 cohort have now graduated and many have secured jobs in the tech industry, with glowing feedback about the programme and support they have received.

Many BCSWomen committee members have also gained recognition for their outstanding contributions to UK IT this year, being included in the Computer Weekly Hall of Fame, Top 50 Influential Women in IT list, and more included in the longlist.

The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, an annual one-day symposium held in April had over 100 student attendees plus a similar number of staff, friends and sponsors.

“We have shown year on year that attendees leave the event more confident about their course, technology careers, and the profession in general,” said Andrea.

“We believe we fill an important gap through providing a space and a voice to the UK (and wider) women in computing community.

“Looking to the future, we will continue to lead and run taster sessions, mentor and support women in tech, publish articles and talk at events, raising awareness by showcasing role models so people see people like us working in tech. Currently we are working with Computing at School (CAS) to create an annual event for girls and non-binary school students to encourage more of them to study tech at GCSEs and A levels and at colleges and university.”