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Web first lady in New Year’s Honours List

Dame Wendy Hall will continue to champion the cause of women in technology.

The former head of the British Computer Society (BCS) has been awarded the title of Dame as part of the New Year's Honours List.

Wendy Hall CBE, who by many is considered as the woman who created the world wide web's predecessor and who co-founded the open hypermedia system, has now been awarded the title of Dame in recognition for her contribution to the IT industry.

"When you consider the importance of the IT industry in every aspect of our lives these days, I don't think enough people from the industry are recognised in this way. So I hope lots more will follow," said Professor Hall, CBE, who is currently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

Hall has been a champion to the cause of encouraging more women to join the IT industry. It is hoped that positive role models will help redress the balance going forward.

"I wrote my first paper about the lack of women in computer science in 1987, and in some ways it's got worse since then rather than better. The industry serves all sectors of the population - women use computers just as much as men these days but it is still very much dominated by men so that the systems and devices we use are designed and built without input from women and women are not attracted to work in the industry," said Hall.

"It's a vicious circle from which there seems to be no way out. But it is the industry that has to change not the women. I very much hope that as we focus in the future on the impact that computers have on society rather than on the computers themselves more women will be attracted to work in the industry as a whole, but I would still like to see more women getting involved in the nitty gritty of design and implementation and not only the applications."

She added: "We have a problem in general attracting young people into careers in science and engineering, but I really do believe that with governments worldwide talking about the need for innovation to help us out of the current financial crisis, and the fact that innovation is driven by science and engineering, these subjects are going to be increasingly attractive for the brightest and best. We need to make sure that computer science and the IT industry are seen to play a central role in this renaissance."

Image credit: John Banfield

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