In December, we featured the TechWomen50 Awards 2017, the first to recognise emerging female talent in the tech world. The awards were launched by WeAreTechWomen – Kayleigh Bateman, who heads the organisation, tells us why she became involved.
Can you briefly explain the premise behind WeAreTechWomen and the TechWomen50 awards?
Since September 2017, WeAreTechWomen has been searching the UK for the best female tech talent in the country. With the support of headline sponsor Worldpay, WeAreTechWomen was able to identify a shortlist of 100. The TechWomen50 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and to also recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way for future generations of tech talent.
How did you come to be involved and what is your role within the organisation?
I joined WeAreTheCity in 2015 to launch its technology arm, WeAreTechWomen. I came from Computer Weekly, where I looked after its women in technology community and annual event. I am currently Head of WeAreTechWomen and look after growing the community through editorial, mini-events, an annual conference and awards.
Why do you feel that there is such a disparity between the amount of men and women in technology-based roles? And what do you feel can be done to address this?
The technology industry has a real problem with image – it is still considered to be a dull industry to enter, filled with only nerds and geeks. Those within the industry know this is far from the truth of working in technology. A role in the tech sector means innovation, creativity, variety and international travel. Technology is an enabler and allows employees to work flexibly – something that many women and returners are searching for. There are already several efforts being made, by companies, to improve the image of the tech industry and to ensure that those outside the sector can see what it is really like to work in IT.
How have the TechWomen50 awards been received by the wider technology community?
The awards have been very popular, with over 800 entries. The judges found it very difficult to make their choices, as the quality of entries was very high from a range of roles and disciplines within tech.
What does the future hold for both WeAreTechWomen as well as the awards?
WeAreTechWomen and TechWomen50 will continue to drive gender parity within the industry, to highlight those lighting the way and to continue upskilling women already working within the sector.