‘Red button’ pioneer set to highlight career path for women in technology

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The lack of women employed in Scotland’s technology sector will be highlighted as a hindrance to its growth at an industry meeting tomorrow.

Delegates at a conference in Motherwell are set to hear from keynote speaker Catriona Campbell, founder of Foviance, the company behind Sky’s “red button” remote.

She is expected to address the audience on how she progressed from her role as a psychologist to head of e-commerce for Barclays and GE Capital through to her current position.

Women account for less than one in five – just 17 per cent – of all Scottish technology employees and the number of those at board level is much smaller.

Research suggests that organisations with female leaders perform better, but women are still in the minority in the boardroom, particularly in the technology sector.

The conference will be hosted by the Scotland Women in Technology group, founded by Cisco employee Silka Patel to encourage more women into technology and to help them develop their careers once there. The group also includes employees from Dell, HP, IBM, JP Morgan, Scottish Enterprise, and Skills Development Scotland, as well as Cisco.

Patel said: “This sector is a brilliant place for women to work and progress, yet we are very much in the minority. With this group, we hope to encourage more women into this exciting area, to develop their skills and so maximise the contribution to our economy.

“Technology businesses really encourage flexible working styles that are more family friendly and very productive.”

This week is the first anniversary of the Lord Davies report on the percentage of women in the boardroom.

Davies’ study urged FTSE 100 companies to double the percentage of women at the top table by 2015, from 12.5 per cent to 25 per cent.

The latest figures show they now make up 15 per cent, a rise of two percentage points in a single year, which Davies described as “amazing”.

Polly Purvis, executive director of ScotlandIS, the trade body for the country’s technology industries, said: “In the digital technology industry, women are severely under-represented generally and even fewer women have made it into senior management and the boardroom.

“This stark lack of women in digital technology is set to continue unless more is done to educate, support and encourage women on the wide range of career opportunities that exist in both technical and non-technical roles.”