Monday is the last day for entries to the BlackBerry Women and Technology Awards, so if you haven’t yet put in your nominations you have the weekend to prepare your submission before the deadline.
The two award ceremonies from previous years have been awash with female talent. I’ve been lucky never to come across discrimination in the companies in which I’ve worked, but some of the women I have met at womenintechnology events haven’t been so fortunate. If these awards raise the profile of the great things that women are doing within the IT arena then that has to be a good thing, especially as the IT industry press seem to harp on all the time about the lack of women in technology – it’s great to raise our profile in the wider community as well to show that there are women out there building (and making a success of building) careers in IT, in it’s widest sense.
IT particularly is an industry where gender shouldn’t make a difference, and actually the BlackBerry awards look beyond ‘pure’ IT to consider the impact that women are having in the wider business world as well, seeing IT as an enabler rather than a solution in its own right, which is a much healthier state of affairs for businesses. For example, the first winner of the BlackBerry Outstanding Woman in Technology category, Jackie Edwards, is a Lecturer at De Montford University and was recognised in 2005 for her own achievements in making a new career for herself but also in bringing those skills to others. She now lecturers on De Montford’s Women’s Access to IT course, and sees plenty of women coming through the doors of her classroom who would previously have never had the confidence to attend university for any reason.
In 2008 the categories are:
1. Best Use of Technology by a Woman Within the Corporate Sector
2. Best Use of Technology by Under 30 Year Old Woman
3. Best Woman in Technology (Public Sector and Academia)
4. Best Use of Technology Within the Multimedia Industry by a Woman
5. Best Company Advancing Women in Technology
6. Best Use of Technology by a Woman in Small to Medium Business
7. Best Female Mentor
8. BlackBerry Outstanding Woman in Technology
The awards themselves will be handed out on Tuesday 6th May 2008. The dinner is black tie (a very male dress code) event in central London, so watch the website for some inspiring stories from the nominees.