By Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer, FDM Group

It’s hard to think of an area of our lives that hasn’t been transformed by technology, but none more so than communication.

From my experience, to achieve success we have to put a greater emphasis on soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, social intelligence and empathy.

Despite huge changes in technological developments, there are still acute gender divides within the technology industry, with only 14.4% of computing professionals in the UK being female.

A survey by Harvey Nash this year found that a third of CIOs asked had no women in leadership or technology roles in their company.

Further research by Women in Technology found that men believe they would benefit from a more innovative environment and better departmental communication if they had more women in their technology department.

Although the IT and technology industry suffers from a shortage of women, the recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as the CEO of Yahoo was highly publicised and there is no doubt in my mind that it has proved inspirational to many women in the technology world.

In spite of her self-proclamation that she is indeed a “geek”, Mayer’s background lies in fashion and ballet, dispelling common stereotypes that often detract women from pursuing a career in the sector.

So, how else can we encourage more women to join the IT and |technology workforce?

One way is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women working within the sector, positioning them as role models to inspire a pipeline of new talent to enter the industry.

The FDM everywoman in Technology Awards 2013 does just this and aims to encourage women to see technology as a fast-moving, innovative sector where they can excel.

Nominations are now being welcomed for the awards and I encourage every woman in the industry to enter herself or someone that they admire.

No longer is technology a back office function, it is now in many ways at the forefront of business and that is something to be celebrated.

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