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IT leaders unite to address gender imbalance in UK technology industry

Cisco, Dell, IBM and Microsoft host inaugural meeting to address IT industry issues relating to women

London, March 6, 2008 - Four of the biggest players in the UK IT industry today announced the inaugural meeting of the "Connecting Women in Technology" networking group. The event, organised and backed by Cisco, Dell, IBM and Microsoft, will take place from 1.30pm-7pm, Thursday March 6th at IBM Bedfont Lakes.

The IT industry is struggling to attract new entrants: according to a recent E-Skills UK report1, the UK technology industry needs around 140,000 new entrants each year, whilst women make up only 18 per cent of the total workforce. With university IT admissions on the decline the industry has come together to promote careers in IT to schoolgirls and students.

'Connecting Women in Technology' has been conceived as a forum for women working in IT to meet, network and debate issues currently affecting the IT industry, including women returning to the workforce after maternity, and building women's networks. The first meeting - to be held only two days before International Women's Day (http://www.internationalwomensday.com/) - will feature presentations by senior female executives from the four supporting IT companies, combined with informal and 'speed' networking sessions.

1 "Technology Counts: IT and Telecoms Insights 2008"- E-Skills UK, 2008

"Both the UK workforce and the global business environment are changing, and in order to ensure the UK remains competitive, we need to ensure the IT industry recruits and retains the best talent", commented Nikki Walker, Director Inclusion and Diversity, European Markets, Cisco.

"Connecting Women in Technology is all about communication: across companies, across boundaries, across geographies", added Elizabeth Loker, Head of IBM UK Diversity and Inclusion. "It's vital that we get together as a community to network and develop new approaches to sustain and grow the UK's talent pool."

"Attracting new people, especially women, to a career in IT is something we are all working hard on. In particular, Microsoft is already engaged in a number of projects such as DigiGirlz and Computer Clubs for Girls as a way of encouraging more women at an earlier stage into our industry. This is not just the right thing to do but it makes good business sense. Creating a forum for women already in technology represents a great opportunity for women to share learnings and network which helps them individually, and collectively helps the industry" said Eileen Brown, Manager, IT Pro Evangelist Team, Microsoft Ltd.

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