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A joint initiative between computer maker Dell and the Australian Government intended to recognise individuals and organisations striving to help women rise through the Australian Public Service's ICT ranks, last night announced the programme's inaugural award winners at a dinner in Canberra.

Dell runs a Women in IT Executive Mentoring (WITEM) programme in Australia which has more than 200 participants including 100 CIO or CEO level mentors. Last night Alaine King, CIO of Treasury and Jan McConchie, programme director for Parliamentary Reform and Service SA initiatives from the South Australian Government were announced as WITEM's leading IT professionals.

South Australia also took line honours as the WITEM organisation deemed best in terms of advancing women in ICT, an award won by the office of the chief information officer at the SA Department for Transport, Energy for Infrastructure.

John Wadeson, CIO of Centrelink was a rare male award winner, named for his outstanding contribution to WITEM. Centrelink was also named the leading APS agency for the advancement of women in ICT.

According to Dell although the total Australian ICT workforce grew 16.5 per cent in the three years to 2009, female representation rose only 3.5 per cent. Dell's is one of a series of mentoring programmes run by different organisations around Australia aimed at encouraging more women to join, stay in and rise through the ICT ranks.

The public service's ICT ranks are slightly less male dominated than the profession as a whole. Although generally women represent only 18 per cent of the ICT workforce, in the APS women have carved out a much higher 34 per cent share.

Other winners of awards last night include Wendy O'Keefe, Asia Pacific executive vice president of IT distribution company WestconGroup Australia, who was named WITEM's leading mentor; Kim Finney, manager of the Australian Antarctic Data Centre named APS female ICT professional of the year; and Ginevra Wallace, director of the office of the CIO, in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs who was named APS mentor of the year.


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