Here I am 9 years ago with the wonderful Captain Jerry Roberts, Bletchley Park codebreaker, at my birthday party. What an amazing man ❤️
One of the hardest things about running the campaign to save Bletchley Park is making friends with incredible people and then losing them 😭
Check out Jerry’s book Lorenz
#bletchleypark #codebreakers #testery #savingbletchley
Ada Lovelace invented the idea of software in 1843 at the age of 28 when working with Charles Babbage on his Analytical engine. The first pioneer in computing was a woman and we have had many more female computing pioneers since then: the women at Bletchley Park; Dina St Johnston who set up the UK’s first software house in 1959; Dame Stephanie Shirley who’s company employed women, mainly working from home in the 1960s, training them to write software including the Concorde black box flight recorder; and Karen Spark Jones, a pioneer in search algorithms who’s quote “Computing is too important to be left to men” is the title of this piece. And that’s just in the UK, there are many women tech pioneers across the globe.
I first realised that I needed to get involved in supporting and raising the profile of women in tech during my PhD in software engineering in the 1990s. I found out that talking to men at conferences about my research could be misconstrued which led to me not finding tech conferences an enjoyable experience. Attending a women in science conference some months later I was amazed to find that I could enjoy conferences, meet some great people and have interesting conversations. Being in the majority makes life so much easier. Being in a minority can make something that seems simple difficult.
I set up BCSWomen, the UK’s first online network for women in computing in 1998 as a result of my experiences. The idea being to provide a space for women to discuss the topics we cared about in technology with other women. I’m very proud of the fact that BCSWomen still provides a women only space where anything and everything related to technology is discussed. BCSWomen has supported hundreds of women over the last 19 years.
I’m so delighted BCS continues to take a lead in investigating, researching and publishing data around the situation not just for gender but diversity in general in our industry. We need a more diverse industry so that we can create better products and services for everyone. Take the example of the automated point of sale machines in supermarkets. I’m sure we have all experienced the “unexpected item in the bagging area” moment of frustration. Do you think the team that developed those automated POS machines was diverse? Do you think there were people on the team that shopped regularly in a supermarket? I’m guessing not.
Diversity is important for everyone. Only when we have diverse teams, diverse workforces, diverse experiences contributing to creating diverse products and services will we be creating products and services that are fit for all of us. Diversity brings strength.
Technology is such an exciting area to be in. Working in the tech industry we understand the world and the opportunities around us in a way that many others are as yet able to see without our help. We owe it to everyone else to take a lead in this area, so that they can follow.
You could say that this report paints a dismal picture in terms of diversity and women in tech, we are nowhere near 50/50 male to female in the industry. But I believe that we are at a tipping point of a revolution in technology and also in awareness of the importance of diversity. I’ve seen massive change over the last few years in attitudes towards diversity in tech, from being asked when setting up BCSWomen in 1997: “Why are you ghettoising yourself?”
I now regularly get asked: “How can we encourage more women to work in our tech department?”
Things are changing and this report gives us the data we need to measure and evaluate progress highlighting areas of concern and areas of success that we can celebrate along the way.
Let’s take our lead from this report and use it to create a a more diverse, more successful tech industry in the UK. We owe it to Ada, Dina, Dame Stephanie, Karen and everyone who has worked hard to make the UK tech industry what it is today.
Dr. Sue Black OBE FBCS
BCS report: Diversity in IT 2017
I chatted to Hannah, giving an overview the day and speaking about the amazing discussions we had all had with the veterans.
Christian Payne interviewed many veterans on the day. Here are just some of his interviews. Enjoy 🙂
Interview by Christian with Bletchley Park veteran Margaret Warner of the WAAF:
Christian interviews Bletchley Park veteran Kathleen Saunders
Christian interviews Bletchley Park veteran Captain Jerry Roberts
Christian interviews Bletchley Park radio security intercept officer Alan Gordon Jackson
For more stories about Bletchley Park and the campaign we ran to save it check out my book Saving Bletchley Park.
US Amazon link here: Saving Bletchley Park
In September 2010 I was campaigning hard for Bletchley Park to be saved. I had started the campaign in 2008 after finding out that Bletchley Park were having financial difficulties and may have to close.
The whole story of the campaign along with the history of Bletchley Park, the women of Bletchley Park, Alan Turing, Enigma and much more are in my book Saving Bletchley Park. Saving Bletchley Park currently has 63 five star reviews on Amazon UK.
Some awesome people came with me on Enigma Reunion day 2010 to interview veterans that came along on the day including former head of GCHQ Sir Arthur Bonsall. Below are a few of those interviews conducted by @radiokate and @ALRanson. Which is your favourite?
If you would like to know more about Bletchley Park and the campaign to save it do check out my book Saving Bletchley Park.
I was deeply honoured and absolutely delighted to win the special Editor’s Impact award at the Digital Agenda Impact awards last week for my ” outstanding contribution to technology for good”.
It was an amazing afternoon full of great catchups with friends in the tech for good space and interesting and exciting conversations with so many incredible social entrepreneurs 😍👍🎉
I had a really wonderful time yesterday delivering a speech to the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists at their monthly business lunch on board HMS Wellington on the Thames 😀👍
I was so well looked after my the Beadle, the Master, the clerk and everyone else, it was an absolutely superb lunch.
We all retired to a local pub afterwards and the conversations about the IT industry, technology, Bletchley Park and our incredible UK tech history continued until the evening.
I had a fabulous time and can’t wait to go to more WCIT events 😀😍👍🎉
I’d love to understand more about what he did and what it meant. If you can help at all please comment below.
I only discovered a few years ago that Sydney was born Solomon Benjamin Hamburg in Spitalfields the 8th child of Dutch Jewish parents Benjamin Hamburg and Flora Salomon Rina. Previous to then I and the rest of my family had no idea that he was Jewish or that he came from London.
At 17 Sydney enlisted in the army in Hounslow and at 18 started serving in the British Army in Newcastle.
I would love to know anything that anyone can shed light on in terms of my family history and his military service.
Thanks for any information you can share 😀👍