Posted Thursday 2 February 2017
An associate professor from Kingston Business School has been awarded a prestigious accolade for her work raising the profile of women in information technology.
Dr Vladlena Benson picked up this year's Editor's Choice Women in IT Award for her research in to cyber security careers for women. This work has informed teaching innovations which have recently been incorporated in to Kingston University's MBA programme.
Dr Benson has led on a number of research studies which have highlighted the gender gap in the cyber security job market. "Women account for just seven per cent of jobs in this discipline across Europe which, given the growing significance of the field in the 21st century, is of great concern," Dr Benson stressed. "We need to make the sector more widely accessible and fully educate women on its role and importance to the world of business."
The Women in IT awards – run by leading business technology magazine Information Age – celebrate the achievements and innovation of women in the IT industry. The Editor's Choice category, as chosen by the magazine's editorial team, recognises a woman who has shown exceptional leadership, trend-setting, technology adoption or promotion of diversity/gender equality.
Dr Benson, specialist in the field of information systems, said she was thrilled to have been able to share a stage with renowned figures from global business. "It was really lovely to stand among such an esteemed pool of nominees," she added. "Just to be shortlisted alongside these individuals was an honour in itself, but to win the final award was amazing."
The Women in IT awards ceremony was the largest global technology diversity event ever held, attracting more than 1,000 business and IT leaders to Grosvenor House in Mayfair, London. Sir Alex Younger, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, gave the keynote speech and used his address to shine a spotlight on diversity issues and to emphasise the ongoing importance of IT skills as technology continues to rapidly evolve.
The awards judging panel commended Dr Benson's efforts to raise awareness of the opportunities open to individuals within the industry. "Vladlena does great work in changing perceptions of careers in technology and cyber security for young women," a member of the Information Age editorial team commented. "Her creative approach to teaching strategic aspects of IT helps female professionals gain confidence and further excel in their careers, while her research has developed breakthroughs and new theories."
Dr Benson believes that the accolade will help to further promote diversity in IT and expand this knowledge to a wider audience. "This puts the University at the leading edge of research-informed teaching," she added.