Female leaders emerging
One of the most exciting aspects associated with the growth in tech hubs like London’s Tech City is that women are playing prominent roles in running new IT-based businesses.
Recent news announced by Tech North, the hub that will focus on Manchester and Newcastle, with teams also working in Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Sunderland, revealed that its first ever head will be Claire Braithwaite, entrepreneur and tech investor.
A glance at the TechCityinsider women’s 100 club highlights plenty of other high profile names, including Baroness Joanna Shields, former European managing director of Facebook and now a life peer in the House of Lords and digital advisor to the Prime Minister.
Baroness Shields is just one of a group of well-known successful female tech entrepreneurs that includes Martha Lane Fox and Julie Meyer as well as newcomers such as Sarah Wood of Unruly Media. They all serve to inspire younger women to follow a career in technology, once seen as a bastion of male employment.
But it’s not just the entrepreneurs helping to establish and run new ventures that should be encouraged as good examples to younger women and girls. Those who work within internal IT departments or at IT companies themselves are also growing in number and the example shown by high profile women IT leaders is encouraging more women to follow a career in IT.
Around one-in-seven of the UK’s top 100 CIOs are currently women, according to the 2014 edition of the CIO 100 report. The top three were named as Christina Scott, CIO of the Financial Times; Catherine Doran, Royal Mail Group; and Carolyn Brown, Durham University.
According to 14% of UK CIOs recently surveyed by Robert Half Technology, the showcasing of successful female IT leaders, whether in their own business or leading an in-house team is the most effective initiative in developing new senior female technology professionals.