Dame Stephanie Shirley, has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the national FDM everywoman in Technology Awards 2013.
The award recognises Dame Shirley's lifelong passion for inspiring and enabling women to achieve success in technology, and her work championing IT opportunities in the workplace for women with dependants at a time when suspicion of women working in IT was widespread.
After arriving in the UK as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939, she discovered a talent and passion for mathematics, and in 1962 she started a software house that pioneered new work practices and changed the position of professional women along the way.
Since retiring in 1993, her focus has been on philanthropy. She has donated the majority of her significant wealth to causes from autism to harnessing IT for the public good, with a £10 million gift to Oxford University to launch an Internet Institute and a £5 million donation to secure the future of the Worshipful Company for Information Technologists.
Meanwhile, Eleni Antoniadou, Co-founder and Chief of Science at Transplants without Donors, has been named Woman of the Year for her work producing artificial organs as off-the-shelf technology.
The technology, which was developed as part of a university project in 2009, has recently been used to save a patient who was suffering from late stage tracheal cancer, creating the very first fully functional artificial organ transplant in the history of medicine
In 2012 Antoniadou joined the NASA Academy as the top candidate among 1200 nominations. She has since accepted the position of Research Associate at the Bioscience Division/Mars Exploration Laboratory at NASA Ames in Silicon Valley.
Prizes were also awarded to Jennifer Sheridan, Founder and CEO of Togeva (Entrepreneur of the Year), Joanna Montgomery, Founder and CEO of Little Riot (Innovator of the Year) and Deborah Gundle, Founder and Director of Netbuddy (Inspiration of the Year).
Lucy Dimes, CEO UK and Ireland of Alcatel-Lucent won Leader of the Year; Taylor McGhee, Integrated Supply Chain Specialist Apprentice at IBM UK, won Rising Star of the Year; and Tamara Lohan, Co-founder and CTO of Mr & Mrs Smith, won SME Team Leader of the Year.
“This year the judging panel were overwhelmed by the extraordinary talents, energy and drive of all the finalists and selecting these winners was no easy feat,” said Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman.
“Each one of these inspirational women excels in many different ways, yet they share many qualities – a clear vision, incredible passion for IT and a firm belief that there are no barriers to what can be achieved.
“The technology sector has demonstrated its commitment in the past few decades to embracing and nurturing its female talent, and we hope by celebrating these winners today, we can encourage others to follow in their footsteps.”
Women still occupying less than one in five of all technology positions, according to e-skills. The aim of the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards is to raise the profile of women in IT and recognise individuals who are driving innovation, pioneering new practices, and fuelling the economy.