The role of women in technology has been much discussed this year, from the celebration of female computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, to Ed Miliband's description of the lack of women in the industry as a "national embarrassment".
And this wide-ranging conversation is set to continue as we enter 2015. This should not surprise V3 readers, as the need for more women in IT has been a much covered topic, particularly as it links with concerns that the technology and engineering industries have a lack of skilled people to fill future jobs.
Many have called for ways to make these traditionally male-dominated industries more appealing to women in a bid to fill a worrying skills gap.
More important is the diversity women can bring to the industry. The relentless pace of technological change makes it a very diverse area, from the rise of cloud computing to the latest Android tablets and Apple iPhones and iPads.
The industry needs to ensure that it promotes diversity in its workforce, which some major technology companies, like Amazon, have failed to do.
Some may argue that many women simply do not find technology appealing, but I spoke recently to Melissa Di Donato, a high-ranking executive at Salesforce, who is a perfect counterpoint to that argument.
From my conversation with Di Donato and other women in IT, I believe the industry needs to be presented as a more welcoming and open place for women, promoting the benefits of a varied and exciting career beyond just a healthy salary.
Otherwise the industry will end up losing out on 50 percent of a potential talent pool.
If the IT world remains to be seen as a ‘boys' club' the digital skills gap is likely to continue, much to the detriment of the industry.
Britain is enjoying a boom in its technology industry but a lack of skills could have a detrimental impact on the UK's economy as a whole.
Furthermore, if industry cannot find a way to encourage more women to consider a career in technology, it is likely to struggle to promote further diversity in areas such as race, culture and identity.
However, I believe 2015 will usher in a better year for women and diversity in technology, and that damming reports will turn into positive stories.
Di Donato said that there is a need for more visible female role models in technology, and that people like herself are starting to make themselves heard as examples and mentors for women in and looking for careers in the industry.
I recently attended a panel discussion made up of women from politics and the technology sector, who said that the tide is turning for women in IT, and I believe this will swell over the next 12 months as more women enter the sector.
In the long term, with coding now being taught in English schools, I predict school leavers over the next five to 10 years will be made up equally of female and male students pursuing technology apprenticeships or going on to study computing-related degrees.
This change may seem years away, but it is already happening. On a tour of the Idea London centre, where UK start-ups are nurtured into growth, I noted that many of the fledgling digital businesses were run by women, who have taken personal interests and added an injection of IT.
I believe more work is needed to open up the technology industry to women, and the conversation needs to continue if change is to be achieved. This will require quashing barriers such as the misogyny that came out of the GamerGate debate.
But over the next 12 months, I hope to see the seeds of change planted in the past year grow and eventually lead to the discussion of women in technology changing to one about people in technology.
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