How do we bring more women into IT?

These are often considered typically female skill sets - and today are globally sought-after skill sets. Women have already had key roles in the everyday technology that we use.

Some famous examples are the female team who programmed the black box recorder for Concorde and the woman who wrote lots of the code that gets used every time you use a bank card in an ATM. It must give you a real buzz to know that you did something like that.

TRP: What kind of obstacles are there for women in IT?

GA: There are also problems attracting young women into the profession directly from study, and encouraging women returning to work following a career break.

Just over half of those we questioned (53%) in our survey on the issue think it is difficult for women to return to a job in IT following a career break.

Our survey respondents also thought that more encouragement in schools and universities is needed to ensure that girls not only study computing but also follow through and join the profession.

Hopefully, the transformation of the computing curriculum which launches in September will kick-start a renewed interest in the subject among young people, opening their eyes to the excitement and creativity of computing.

Parents need to talk through their child's options with them to ensure that they take full advantage of the new curriculum and study computing to GCSE level which will give them a real advantage in years to come, keeping their options open for future careers.

Pay is another potential barrier. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that the pay gap for women working in the information and communication industry is 27%*. Professions, including the IT profession, must address the gender pay gap if they are going to attract and retain more women in IT.

Finally, we need role models in the IT profession who can demonstrate what a great and varied career option it is.

TRP: How does unconscious bias play a part in discouraging girls from working in IT?

GA: Unconscious bias plays a role in the lack of women in the profession. Employers need to understand how unconscious bias works and what they can do to counter it.

For example, women don't always recognise the need to ask for salary increase and rarely ask for a better package when offered a job according.

However, men are generally often very good at this and it can lead to unwitting or unnoticed pay gaps which employers need to be aware of and take action to avoid.

Research into how we make decisions shows that unconsciously we will use long held stereotypes when judging people, and when recruiting, we tend to be drawn to people who are like us.

As a profession, we need to be aware of this in order to ensure that we have a profession that is diverse, makes the most of the talent pool available and reflects the diversity of our society.