Top 10 women in IT stories of 2015

1. BCS establishes female network in Stem and IT

In the beginning of 2015, the BCS established a network to encourage more women to pursue careers in IT and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects.

2. Martha Lane Fox unveils ‘Dot Everyone’

As part of her speech at the Dimbleby Lecture, Martha Lane Fox launched her “Dot Everyone” concept.

Alongside a digital education for everyone and an ethics review of the internet, Lane Fox proposed the institution aim for women to be at the heart of the technology industry, making vital steps towards digital inclusion and industry diversity.


3. CompTIA prepares for 2015 women in IT and skills drive

Halfway through 2015, companies started to gear up and encourage young women into IT-based careers.

Among these was cyber security show CompTIA, which launched its Skills Boost online programme allowing UK schools, teachers and parents to fully understand what roles the technology industry offers the next generation.

This aimed to dispel some of the myths around the “typical” IT worker and encourage a wider audience – including girls – to consider IT careers.

4. US women technology executives ‘need board code of practice similar to UK’

The UK was held up as an example for code of practice when looking into the issue of the number of women serving as board members.

Lisa Hook, president and CEO of Neustar, said the US would benefit from having the same voluntary codes of practice that came out of the UK’s Lord Davies Review into women on boards, as it would encourage a higher level of commitment at corporate level.

As a result of the report, Davies recommended all UK FTSE 100 companies should have boards comprising at least 25% women, and suggested companies should set targets to make sure more women were appointed as board members.

5. UK female developers on the rise

The UK found that, in 2014, more women joined the developer community than men despite women only accounting for 4% of all developers in the region.

Despite the small numbers, research commissioner Stack Overflow Careers claimed the main indicator for growth of women in the sector was the fact that females were employed despite 19% of them having no previous experience in the sector, while only 3.4% of men said the same.

6. Socitm launches women in IT network

Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) jumped on board to encourage women into the IT industry by hunting for industry partners to help launch a network for women in IT.

The network aims not only to act as a support for women in the IT industry, but also to promote collaboration among companies who are already making progress in the sector.

7. Number of women in digital drops to 26%

Although the number of women in some technology-based careers is on the rise, the numbers of women in other areas are declining.

In 2015 the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) found the number of women working in digital jobs had dropped from 33% in 2002, to 26% in 2015.

The research also found the average number of women in other industries was 47%, highlighting the stark contracts with the digital and IT sectors.

8. Women in IT meet prime minister David Cameron’s gender pay gap news with scepticism

Women in the IT industry responded with scepticism in 2015 when prime minister David Cameron announced that firms with more than 250 employees would be forced to disclose employee salaries.

The measures will be rolled out over the next 12 months in the hope that companies will be publicly forced to acknowledge any gaps between men’s and women’s pay, aiming to close the gender pay gap.

But women in the IT industry were sceptical about how useful this step would be, with some saying firms may hide true figures using pay grades, while others claimed industry laws could act as a barrier to publishing.

9. IT sector needs ‘re-framing’, says 2015’s most influential woman in UK IT

In July 2015 Jacqueline De Rojas, area vice-president for northern Europe at Citrix and deputy president of TechUK, was crowned Computer Weekly’s most influential woman in IT.

She claimed that, if the IT industry wants to attract more women, it should consider re-framing how it presents itself to make IT jobs more appealing.

De Rojas labelled women the “crisis managers of the world”, saying the IT industry would benefit from having more, but will have to work on how industry job roles are advertised before it attracts them.

10. Monster launches Tech Talent Charter for IT industry diversity guidelines

The year rounded off with recruitment agency Monster launching its Tech Talent charter, designed to provide the IT industry with guidelines for diverse hiring.

The recruitment firm partnered with several technology and skills organisations to develop a code of best practice for how to actively address the lack of women and minority groups in the technology industry.

The charter aims to facilitate change in the industry by advising member organisations to take steps such as appointing internal responsibility for the cause, helping to support the IT talent pipeline and encouraging the adoption of diversity best practice.


With a shortage of turnstiles, the MTA went back to a mothballed design

The new 34th Street-Hudson Yards station required a supply of fare-collection gates the city didn’t have after Superstorm Sandy destroyed their spares


In a back room at Cubic Transportation Systems on Seventh Avenue, the guts of that ubiquitous piece of urban furniture, the subway turnstile, are on display. Cubic stopped making the machines after the subway switched from tokens to fare cards in 1994. Now, after more than a two-decade hiatus, the old turnstiles are back in production.

The reason is the new 34th Street-Hudson Yards subway station. After 25 years without the Metropolitan Transportation Authority opening a new station, production of the metal gates had ended, and all the MTA’s spares were wiped out when Superstorm Sandy flooded a storage facility near the Gowanus Canal.

“We last built turnstiles approximately 20 years ago,” said Steve Brunner, director of North American operations for San Diego-based Cubic. “Almost every electronic component really has gone obsolete since then.” Even the company that made the turnstiles’ metal cabinets is now out of business. Using the original plans, Cubic had the metal frames made to order, and its manufacturing facility in Tullahoma, Tenn., which stockpiles discontinued electronics, was able to build the technology for the fare-card readers. The 78 new gates will collect fares at Hudson Yards as well as in the forthcoming Second Avenue subway stations.

The city has been slow to move away from the swipe. The MTA dropped tokens for good in 2003. It has improved the magnetic readers that make the swipe card more than 10 times more reliable than other cities’ fare-card systems. (Cubic’s John Cameron noted the perfect swipe is made at walking speed.) But details are sketchy on the next step, and a 2019 deadline for the transition to contactless payments has been pushed to 2022.

Everything old is new again—but still old.