ITWales, the umbrella organisation for Computer Science projects at Swansea University, held its annual celebration of International Women’s Day last Thursday night at a gala event held at the Liberty Stadium.
The evening marked 15 years of this flagship event that celebrates the work of women in Welsh IT. It was attended by over 110 people from across the business and education sectors of the Welsh IT community.
Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology at Welsh Government was one of four keynote speakers at the event aimed at inspiring more women into careers in the Tech industry in Wales. The Deputy Minister declared "We have to get the message out there. Technology is such a rewarding career for both girls and boys. We have to work together to break down these barriers".
"It's really important to understand how people make it into the (Tech) profession, what motivated them and what we can inspire others to do. It's also important to understand the barriers that they had to overcome" she added.
Dr Matt Roach Business Services Manager at Software Alliance Wales hosted the evening. He began with a talk highlighting some compelling arguments for what he feels might be making women and young girls decide against pursuing Computer Science-related Careers. His presentation argued that we shouldn’t be focussing on the differences between men and women but acknowledging that the difference is actually negligible and that we are in reality more similar than we are different.
Inspirational keynote speakers included Emma Coles (CEO of JiJiKiki and Adlet), Victoria Kania (CEO and Director of Bell IT) and Dawn Lyle (CEO of award winning 3D design company iCreate). The three speakers talked about their career journeys, their highs, the hurdles they have overcome and their inspirations.
Dr Neal Harman the Director of Software Alliance Wales concluded, “This annual event inspires and challenges us to work towards a future where women have an equal place in technology; a future where we are not losing the talents and drive of nearly half the population, and one that's a fairer and better place to live.”
Visit the I.T. Wales microsite for more information about the programme at www.swan.ac.uk/itwales
Article by Chris Rees - Communications Team Lead - Software Alliance Wales