Why we began

BCS, under its Royal Charter, is required to establish and maintain standards of professional competence, conduct and ethical practice for information systems practitioners.

Part of the charitable activities is to educate the Public on IT professional matters under its outreach programmes and through acting as an authority on specific topics for Government, Commerce, Industry and other parties.

Sue Black 

According to Ajayi & Ahbor (cited in Huyer 2003) in Nigeria women openly opposed ICT study because it “overexposed young women to a Western lifestyle, thus endangering their chances for marriage”. Yet in a worldwide comparison of female enrolment in university undergraduate computer studies, some parts of the Third World were in a better position to the U.K. in this regard:

Country Percent Female Year
Nigeria 31.3% 1997
South Africa 32.1% 1998
United Kingdom 19% 1999

Clearly, these statistics demonstrate the need for active encouragement of girls at school and of young women to consider and pursue IT careers after graduation in the UK and globally. It is not essential to be a graduate to enter the profession provided one is prepared to undertake vocational or skills-based training and learn keenly on the job, keeping evidence records of accomplishments and experience.

At a European commission Women in Science and Engineering ‘Networking the networks’ conference, Dr Sue Black discovered the joys of networking and of egroups or electronic groups. The egroup worked so well that Sue decided that it would be a good idea to set one up for the BCS as a whole. In October 2001 she set up the successful BCSWomen egroup which held its 7th Birthday Party last year at the Davison Building, a smart resource in the heart of London for members and staff.

Women, of all ages, from around the globe suddenly found themselves part of a network dedicated to women working in IT worldwide. Many of these women are specialists in many diverse and interesting areas of IT: development, system deployment, network administration, project management, people management, etc.

Other women have less specialised roles and fill vital positions, such as the facilitation of communication between the IT specialists and those concerned with the management of the business. They have all been delighted to find themselves amidst a global group of women in IT that addresses concerns which are either special to women, or particular to IT/IS.

It is a fact that there is still a big shortage of women in this area. Yet those that do take this route will normally find themselves in work that is very interesting, and in an environment that is dynamic and highly motivated. They can however miss female contact in their work place. It is hoped that the networking opportunities provided by this egroup should help to fill this gap.