BCSWomen Scotland

Case study

BCSWomen is the group focused on women and girls in technology within BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. It originated in 1998 when Prof Sue Black OBE realised that the experiences she had when trying to build her network in the industry were not because she was lacking in social skills but because of how few women there were.

In 2012, a couple of Edinburgh-based women wanted to bring the success of the network in the south of the UK north of the border and so BCSWomen Scotland was launched with its first event in June. The group is a subset of BCSWomen, not a completely separate network.

BCSWomen is there to be the inclusive support that girls and women need for their journey in tech. We are a global network; we aspire to make technical careers open to everyone, we welcome everyone to what we do, and we build empowering support and education programmes – with women and girls in mind – through providing networking, education, inspirational speakers and events.

And we have a team who are particularly keen on making sure women and girls in Scotland get the local support, understanding and network they need.

As a charity with a royal charter, the BCS agenda is to lead the IT industry through its ethical challenges, to support the people who work in the industry, and to make IT good for society. BCSWomen is the group that is working towards ensuring tech is a great place for all girls and women. Our team in Scotland is doing just that for folks in the UK north of the border. We’ve run events with Girl Guides, confidence workshops, explored ethics of what we do with data, and so much more.

To date, BCSWomen Scotland has run over 50 events, with over 2000 attendees. We have moved to more virtual events of late, but look forward to meeting in person again, to bring back that local touch. To meet the needs of our attendees, we provide a broad range of networking opportunities and activities covering technical, professional and personal skills.

The BCSWomenScotland team is passionate about reaching out to the younger generation to help increase awareness of all the opportunities the technology sector has to offer.

We have run several events with Girl Guide groups: workshops, workplace tours, robots and coding sessions. Feedback from the participants included “I thought it was very interesting because I never knew there was so much about IT”.  We also hosted 2 sessions in the inaugural Ada.Scot festival in 2020.

In another example of our impact, one woman first attended a BCSWomen sponsored codebar.io event to try coding. Equipped with confidence, she then attended codebar.io again and came along to our “Growing Your Luck” event. As a result, she gained the confidence to change her career. She recognised her own capability and started talking about it and consequently enrolled for a Data Science MSc.

BCSWomen Scotland is also consulted to speak at other events.

We would love folks to join the events we run, to tell us what events and activities they would find beneficial, and even to join our small team of volunteers.  What we do is with women in mind but open to everyone (except for a few special events such as those designed specifically for Girl Guides).

Read about BCSWomen Scotland at https://bcswomen.bcs.org/scotland-branch/.  You can find our events in the list alongside all the BCSWomen events: https://bcswomen.bcs.org/events/

We share many of the same social media channels as BCSWomen: twitter, instagram, and facebook.  We do have a separate LinkedIn page to help collaborate more locally.

If you want to hear about future conferences and activities we are organising by email simply subscribe to our mailing list by sending a blank email to bcswomenscot@lists.bcs.uk

You do not have to be a member of BCS or BCSWomen, or to identify as a woman, in order to join our activities.