BCS Women and WeAreTechWomen discuss emerging technologies

BCS Women, together with WeAreTheCity, to discuss emerging technologies and automation with women from across the technology sector.

After arriving to reception drinks and initial networking, guests were introduced to the discussion by Sarah Burnett, Deputy Chair of BCS Women and Vice President at Everest Group.

Opening the night, Burnett said, “The sector is struggling to hire new talent and with new recruits, they are about more than bits and bytes.”

“From personal experience, there is a lot of very capable girls at university that had no idea what technology could offer.”

“The face of tech is not being talked about enough and we still refer to it in very techy ways.”

Introducing Automation

Continuing, Burnett said, “Emerging technologies are creating new jobs, but some of these still sound very technical. They are becoming more humanised though and user interface has become better and better. We all use iPhones, Galaxys and the like.”

“Automation is creating more interaction between the two sectors – tech and business. This might appeal to more women who are looking for more than bits and bytes.”

Joined by keynote speakers from robot automation companies, BluePrism and Thoughtonomy, the panel spoke of the benefits of automation.

Alex and Mandy, BCS Women event

Alex Bentley and Mandy Downham, from BluePrism told the audience about how companies were introducing robots to their teams more and more. Using the example of Xchanging’s embracement of automation, they argued the benefits of freeing up employee’s time.

Bentley said, “The pace of the business world moves so fast that the technology world can’t keep up with traditional methods.”

“Automation will take away and almost free up, those mundane issues so that employees can focus on other things.”

“We don’t want to focus on it from an angle of getting rid of people. That scares people and they think robots will take over the world.”

Downham continued, “Just consider you have 24 hours in a day and you do get three times as much productivity from robots. You don’t have to deal with awkward leaving do’s, emotional things or out of offices.”

Terry Walby, BCS Women event

Encouraging more women into tech

Terry Walby, Chief Executive of Thoughtonomy, said, “It is refreshing to be in an industry event, where I am in the minority, because it is genuinely very rare.”

Speaking about encouraging more women into the industry, Walby said “A lot of new roles are being created, but what is less great is the distribution of our staff. We have a reasonable good diversity but not a very good gender diversity.”

Concluding the evening with light refreshments and a panel discussion, Walby asked, “How do we attract more women into these roles?”

100 female engineers, mathematicians and scientists gather at Houses of Parliament

BCS Women at Houses of ParliamentOver 100 female engineers, mathematicians and scientists from across the UK recently gathered for an event at the Houses of Parliament.

The World Engineer Reception was hosted by Jeremy Corbyn MP and Chi Onwurah MP to celebrate women in engineering and the contribution they make. The event also aimed to discuss ways that the UK can attract and retain more women in the sector.

11 senior women from BCS The Chartered Institute for IT attended the event.

Gillian Arnold, Chair of BCSWomen and one of the attendees said: “Encouraging diversity in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is vital for the UK. In the technology profession, women account for just 16% of the workforce. Women are prolific users of technology, we need them to also be involved in its development and deployment to ensure that tomorrow's technical solutions include innovations by (and for) women users.

“Also, employers need to be able to recruit from the widest pool of available talent,  so we really need to make sure that girls and women realise that there are fantastic career options available to them in STEM, and that employers realise that, as Jeremy Corbyn MP, said last night, 'Women can do anything they put their minds to' “.

Chi Onwurah MP, a Chartered Electrical Engineer, was present at the event and told attendees how 25 years after starting out on her career as an engineer the proportion of women engineers remained exactly the same. Onwurah said the challenge of gender stereotyping still needs to be tackled.

At the event she called for all tech companies to adopt a Women in Tech Charter, similar to a Women in Finance Charter.