Somerset County Council is celebrating the leading role of women in shaping the future of the organisation to mark International Women’s Day (March 8).
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Break the Bias’, with Somerset County Council focussing on women in technology.
The Council has a number of women providing inspirational leadership across its services, including in the Information and Community Technology (ICT) sector.
Within the Council’s ICT Operations Service, a new Security Operations Centre has been established to improve our proactive defences against cyber-attacks.
Fiona Drew, Team Leader of the SCC ICT Security Operations Team said: “I work alongside a team of engineers with a remit to prevent, seek out, and respond to cyber security threats such as computer viruses, compromised user accounts and phishing attempts.
“I fell into ICT really; I suspect a lot of the women my age that I work with did too. I had a female group manager who was small and mighty! She invested time and resources in all her staff, but she particularly encouraged the women in her team to network and support each other, and I don’t ever recall the notion that my gender was a barrier to anything that I aspired to.
“Seeing a more representative workforce within ICT has been a huge motivator for me, and I’m proud to say that my own team is bucking the trend for female representation.”
Sarah Moore is a Service Manager in SCC’s Digital Transformation Team who wants to inspire more women into technology.
“I am really excited that this year’s focus for International Women’s Day at SCC is on women in tech,” Sarah said. “There’s never been a more exciting or empowering time to be working with technology.
“I am extremely lucky to work with some amazing people across Somerset, to see the impact that technology can have on improving people’s lives and wellbeing. From robots in schools, to remote monitoring that supports older people to remain independent in their own homes, the role of technology is extending into our communities and making a real difference.
“We have some outstanding role models in Somerset who are doing some brilliant work and it’s great to use International Women’s Day to shine a spotlight on some of these to help provide a bit of that inspiration.”
Senior Project and Change Manager Gabrielle Andrews added: “Part of what we’re doing here in Somerset is using technology to enable the workforce of the future, by driving efficiency, intelligence, and innovation we make our staff more competent, effective and productive. By doing this we improve the experience our customers have when they interact with us and outcomes for the people of Somerset.
“I’m also a Mentor with REED’s Women in Technology Mentoring Programme, which was established to help equip women with the knowledge and skills to progress and flourish in their technology related field.
“Nationally only 5 per cent of leadership positions in technology are held by women and it’s recognised that gender diversity is a key component of any successful team, so by offering my time as a mentor I hope that I can support other women in realising their potential and achieve their personal and professional goals.”
Councillor Faye Purbrick, Cabinet Member for Transformation said: “You cannot overstate the value of women to our organisation, both in technology and beyond. The Council strives to create teams and work environments that are inclusive and supportive for all staff, and it is great to hear from these inspirational women thriving in the technology sector.”
For more information about International Women’s Day, click here: International Women’s Day 2022 (internationalwomensday.com)
Notes to editors
Picture shows L-R, Fiona Drew, Sarah Moore, Gabrielle Andrews, and Sarah Flavin. Sarah also works in ICT for Somerset County Council and manages more than 100 ‘Technology Champions’.
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