AWISE change of guard leading women into IT future

AWISE change of guard leading women into IT future

New board members to usher in a new era for Australian women in IT

Bernhardt explained that AWISE is first and foremost an IT, biotech and nanotech focused organization, and just happens to be an interest group for women. AWISE is therefore looking to have more of a say on the general state of affairs in the IT industry.

"Its about moving away from the gender issue and making it more of an economic issue. The lack of women and girls in IT - yes that's gender related - but the reason we should be listening to that is because it's an economic and participation in society issue, and we have a skills shortage in the industry," she said.

Top level management must also endorse flexibility and facilitate unique work-life balances to attract more women to IT, according to female IT managers, read more about this topic here.

Bernhardt is also looking at implementing several unique campaigns in line with the 2006/07 IT Screen Goddess Calendar she was responsible for innovating.

"The campaigns are not as outrageous as the IT Screen Goddess, but as uniquely different."

The first project will bring to light women in Australia's IT industry who are millionaires, while another is aimed at dispelling the nerdy stereotype of IT professionals by showcasing the private lives of female IT workers to show they are outgoing, regular people.

"This is not like the Screen Goddess, and that's no comment against it because I absolutely loved it and we made an unbelievable impact."

"In a way, we learnt that even though Screen Goddess was highly controversial, it had a higher impact on the areas of change than the traditional programs have today, so AWISE is looking at traditional as well as non traditional angles of approaching this problem," Bernhardt explained.

"Another thing AWISE is looking at is My Cyber Twin. We're looking at adding that onto the AWISE Web site and using it as a drawcard for people to find out more about IT and AWISE. We're training a Cyber Twin of me to talk and answer the type of questions you are asking me now."

Ultimately, Bernhardt believes the future is looking good for AWISE and women in IT.

"The previous group did great, they got AWISE moving and did all those great projects. With this new change of guard it's time for AWISE to stand up and be counted, and for people to become more aware of the brains trust and the power that is within the AWISE organization," she said.

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