'I've seen the difference technology makes to lives, including mine'

November 4, 2005

You need neither muscles nor testosterone to work a computer, said Jackie Edwards, the winner of the inaugural Aurora Woman of Technology award.

Ms Edwards, who also won the Best Woman in Technology (academic) category, is passionate about the liberating power of technology. She returned to education after full-time motherhood to brush up her computer skills. She enrolled on De Montfort University's women's access to information technology course, which she now teaches.

"Technology is the future, and if only 22 per cent of women are represented then we are not going to have the technology working for us," she said.

"Computers support collaboration and information sharing - which are just technical words for gossip, and we are really good at that. We have the ability and communication skills and we can develop the technological ones.

Women form 50 per cent of the population. It's such a waste if we are not taking part."

De Montfort's access to IT course has helped dozens of women access technology and go on to degrees and careers. Ms Edwards also secured a £130,000 grant to help encourage people in the community to improve their technology skills.

"It's a great passion of mine. I've seen the difference it makes to people's lives, including mine."

Ms Edwards beat off competition from the likes of Cambridge University's Nanoscience Centre and Microsoft Research Ltd to win the awards, which were created to promote and reward women's success in working with technology.

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