To mark International Women’s Day this year, Information Age looks at some of the inspirational women who sit on ACS’s boards and committees.
These members provide guidance on the direction of ACS and contribute to the successful running of Australia’s peak membership association for tech professionals.
This year’s International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, designed to start a discussion about “why equal opportunities aren’t enough”.
We are proud to celebrate the women of ACS to mark International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March, 2023 (in alphabetical order, by surname):
Member, Membership Advisory Board
Ambassador and Advisor, Victorian Diversity and Inclusion Committee
What I love most about working in IT is solving complex problems using design, and in the process, making a tangible difference in users’ lives.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to give a voice to Design and Accessibility workers, as we are often forgotten when the IT industry is being discussed. I also joined to represent and increase participation for IT workers like me who live with disability and neurodiversity.
The most important technology issue to me right now is ethics in AI. AI is a tool with the potential to revolutionise so many parts of our lives. But with it comes risks and unintended consequences, some of them dire. Organisations need to be strategic and considerate when deciding to use it. I'm pleased to see that the Human Rights Commission is working on guidance for companies to assess and mitigate these risks.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is for hiring managers to realise they play a key part in increasing female candidate numbers. A great start is learning how to write job ads to target women. Techniques such as using inclusive language and including benefits that women are looking for are just two easy ways to make a role more appealing to all genders.
IT is a great career for women because – I’m going to be blunt here – it pays well! It’s also an industry with a great long-term outlook.
International Women’s Day to me means celebrating the huge strides that have been made towards equality for women. It’s also a time to re-energise and focus on what more we can do to break down barriers for not only women but also all discriminated groups.
Member, ICT Educators Committee
What I love most about working in IT is the variety! There are new tools, technologies, innovations being made every day and that's pretty exciting. That's why you don't see many computing text books!
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to make a difference on a national scale for educators. ACS is great for professionals, but we also need to look at and support where our next generation of members are coming from, and the level of skills and knowledge we'd like them to have. How can we support teachers to get them there?
The most important technology issue to me right now is AI tools, and getting the balance right between innovation, and academic and assessment integrity in educational settings. It is a wonderful learning tool to analyse and compare your own work with an AI-generated example to see opportunities for improvement, also to make adaptive revision questions, and can be very helpful with making a start on a task that is unfamiliar, daunting, or overwhelming.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is to assume we can do the job unless proven otherwise, instead of the opposite. Allowing us to step up and gain skills in a new role instead of expecting us to have the skills before applying. Also, making certification rules more female friendly, allowing for changing work patterns due to starting a family.
IT is a great career for women because IT has too great an influence on our lives to be controlled entirely by a non-representative section of the population. It can also be very flexible with the right boss, allowing parents of school-aged children to work from home if necessary.
International Women’s Day to me means highlighting the opportunities and paths available and celebrating the role models who have travelled them before us. Also taking stock of how far we have come and how far we still need to go.
Member, Professional Ethics Committee
What I love most about working in IT is the opportunity to explore how technologies can work best for people from a data ethics lens (as a researcher) and being able to facilitate the learning journeys of students (as an educator)!
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to contribute to professional ethics discussions, particularly from an IT ethics perspective.
The most important technology issue to me right now is exploring how to ethically design tools, systems and processes focused on people’s needs proactively (before data leaks)!
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is actively listen to the diverse perspectives women bring to the table and explore ways to measure our value beyond traditional KPIs where appropriate.
IT is a great career for women because the skills and perspectives women contribute in their roles add immense value to the profession and its growth.
International Women’s Day to me means an opportunity to acknowledge the rich history of women in IT who’ve paved a way for us, celebrate our ongoing effort, and empower tomorrow’s women in IT professionals.
Chair, ICT Educators’ Committee
Member, Queensland Branch Executive Committee
Member, Membership Advisory Board
Member, ACS Australian Country Representative to IFIP TC3
Secretary, IFIP TC3 Executive Committee
What I love most about working in IT is the constantly evolving and dynamic nature of the information technology field. The fast pace of change and need for innovation and problem solving keeps me engaged and motivated. The field offers opportunities for creativity, innovation, problem solving, and challenge, making it a fulfilling and exciting atmosphere to work in.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to bring a diverse perspective, contribute to society, and promote diversity and inclusion and I believe I am achieving this. Women bring unique perspectives and approaches to problem solving which enhances decision making. ACS committees and boards play a critical role in thought leadership and determining technology policies and direction, and having women participate ensures these unique and diverse perspectives are considered.
The most important technology issue to me right now include the effective use of technology in the classroom, professional development, cyber security, and digital equity. It is important to ensure students use technology to enhance learning and growth. For example, the current challenges posed using AI in education, affecting academic honesty, integrity and higher order thinking skills, is a pressing issue that educators need to tackle. Digital equity and agency should be a national priority.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is gender diversity and equality by addressing bias in hiring and promotion, compensation practices, creating a more inclusive work environment, and promoting women to leadership positions. The industry should also increase representation of women, encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in technology including initiatives that promote STEM education, and provide support for knowledge and skill building to succeed in the industry.
IT is a great career for women because IT plays a crucial role in shaping the world we live in, and the IT industry offers a wealth of opportunities for women, providing a dynamic and exciting environment for professional growth and development. Women bring unique perspectives and skillsets to the field, which can make a significant impact on the industry and in driving innovation and creativity. It is a rapidly growing field, with many high-paying and in-demand jobs available, providing women with a wide range of career options and opportunities for advancement.
International Women’s Day to me means recognising and celebrating the achievements and contributions of all women. It highlights the important role women play in shaping the world and the need for a more equitable and just society. Despite progress, there is still much work to be done to address challenges faced by women globally.
Chair, Professional Ethics Committee
Member, Professional Standards Board
Member, South Australian Branch Executive Committee
What I love most about working in IT is contemplating, studying and writing about the social issues that arise when people put IT to use, and supporting younger women in their careers.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was that I had published a few papers on technology and ethics, which led to an invitation to join the Professional Ethics Committee, which I was delighted to accept! From there, I became vice-chair, then chair, of the Professional Ethics Committee, so began to participate on the Professional Standards Board. When a seat on the South Australian Branch Executive Committee came up, I felt I had a duty to nominate, so I that’s what I did.
The most important technology issue to me right now is ChatGPT and university assignments. It’s not yet clear how best to guarantee students’ knowledge attainments in all IT subject areas, however in the assessments I design, students are invited to speak their knowledge in tutorials, conversations, or presentations and I host their files on a fileshare so teaching teams can observe students’ work gradually evolving.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is listening. I have observed several women go unheard in their professional contributions. When someone is unheard in meetings, their drive to expand their contributions begins to dwindle – who wants to speak up when no one listens?
IT is a great career for women because technology is sweeping through all aspects of life and it needs to be designed and implemented by diverse teams who understand the harms and benefits encountered by everyone taking up those innovations, and that includes anyone who’s marginalised. It’s essential that IT teams are diverse teams.
International Women’s Day to me means that institutions know women have contributions to make and acknowledge they are marginalised in many fields, not just IT, and that when smart people are precluded from the full exercise of their talents, we are all worse off.
Member, National Diversity and Inclusion Council
What I love most about working in IT is the endless possibilities of the dynamically changing digital trends, which makes every day of work different from the other.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to help other women. Many people before me have enabled a pathway for inclusion and diversity, and as a woman in STEM and working in the IT field, I believe I must help other graduates and alumni. I wanted to put my skills to use as a token of giving back to the community and creating a difference.
The most important technology issue to me right now is the shortage of skilled labour to perform the implementation and execution of the best cyber security practices worldwide.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is the ratio of females in the team. A lot of times, being the only female in the team makes it a little overwhelming for other women to step into the IT field. More representation of women is a requirement.
IT is a great career for women but not just for women – for everyone. I love the flexibility to work remotely from any part of the world. The vast areas to explore as per your strengths and interests, such as software development, dev-ops, cloud, testing, machine learning, etcetera, is also something really wonderful about IT.
International Women’s Day to me is a reminder that women in every profession and sphere of life should be given equal opportunities, and that representation of each and every woman matters.
Member, National Diversity & Inclusion Committee
What I love most about working in IT is change! I love change, and the complexity, variety and dynamism of the IT sector means I get a lot of it – technology professionals are always able to learn, innovate, solve new (and old) problems and explore new opportunities. Essentially, that’s the job description.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was not enough change, and not fast enough. If ACS is to prioritise the ‘tech diversity’ agenda and make a meaningful, measurable impact on women’s representation in the IT sector, members need to contribute, and I’m honoured to be able to play a part.
The most important technology issue to me right now is the profound impact that a triumvirate of emerging technologies – artificial intelligence, Web3 and the metaverse – is likely to have on economies and societies in general, and specifically what that impact could mean for disadvantaged communities, minority groups and women if equity and inclusion aren’t factored into the foundations.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is applying more of our collective smarts and innovation capability to solve IT’s gender diversity problem. IT and digital are synonymous with transformative socioeconomic change, yet we can’t seem to significantly improve the participation of women in our own profession.
IT is a great career for women because IT is the key to the change lock. With that key, we cannot only unlock our own career potential, but through our work, create change that positively impacts the lives of many others. It would be great to see more women with access to such a powerful key.
International Women’s Day to me means important visibility and recognition of the “great unfinished business of the 21st century” – equality for women, that continues on for the other 364 days.
Member, Professional Standards Board (PSB)
What I love most about working in IT is the opportunity to lead and influence an innovative culture for better IT capabilities and services to improve the competitiveness of our digital workforce.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to make a meaningful contribution to ACS and take an opportunity to connect with and learn from other ICT professionals across private and public education and research communities.
The most important technology issue to me right now is building integrity and trust into ICT systems and services.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is more senior leadership opportunities for highly qualified and experienced female ICT professionals to lead and drive the organisation’s ICT innovation strategy and capability building.
IT is a great career for women because it offers diverse work activities and challenges with flexible working hours / locations and the chance to build ICT capabilities in the service of our communities.
International Women’s Day to me means the opportunity to work with other female IT leaders to take stock of how female ICT professionals are doing, and assess and identify better ways to promote and support them in senior leadership roles. This will lead to a more competitive and better digital economy for the country.
Member, Professional Standards Board
What I love most about working in IT is the innovation and ever-changing environment. I enjoy watching, learning and using new technologies. IT is constantly delivering new ways of working, connecting, communicating and entertaining us.
The reason I joined this ACS committee was to give back to the industry. I love working in the field – it has provided me with a career I truly enjoy. I look forward to contributing my knowledge, experience and passion for technology.
The most important technology issue to me right now is cyber security. I think it's something everyone in the industry is conscious of. It is something we as a profession are managing but remains our Achilles’ heel for the time being.
One thing I wish this industry would improve regarding female IT professionals is the ability to return to work after an extended period of leave. The industry changes rapidly and you can find yourself out of date very quickly if you have been away for a period of time.
IT is a great career for women because it has so much variety and scope. You can choose to be very technical or people oriented in your work. I have worked on very different projects from implementing high performing websites to advising and supporting the creation of the Australian Music Vault exhibition.
International Women’s Day to me is an opportunity to celebrate and encourage other women to consider joining the technology industry.