International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on 25 April this year. According to ITU, this year’s theme for the Girls in ICT day celebrations is “Leadership”, to underscore the critical need for strong female role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

Within the IFIP family, four women have recently been elected to the role of President of their Member Societies in Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Helen McHugh has been elected President for 2024-25, only the second female ACS President after Brenda Aynsley, who led the organisation in 2014-15.

Ms McHugh, the current NSW Branch Chair, was elected in a vote held by the ACS National Congress to succeed Dr Nick Tate, who stepped down at the end of 2023.

“It’s a great privilege to be elected President of ACS,” said Ms McHugh. “As the peak body for Australia’s IT profession, ACS represents both the heritage and the future of the nation’s technology sector,” she said.

“On a personal level, being elected President is a great honour given my father worked with Trevor Pearcey, one of the great pioneers of Australian computing. I’m hoping we can build on those foundations to grow ACS’ member base.”

Ms McHugh and the newly elected Management Committee members formally took their positions from 1st January 2024.

ACS President Helen McHugh with former ACS President Dr Nick Tate Image Source: ACS

Thais Vasconcelos Batista has been President of Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC) since August 2023. An Associate of SBC since 1991, she served as Vice President from 2015-2019 and is a Full Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Federal University of Paraíba, a Master’s and PhD in Informatics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and also completed a postdoctoral degree at the University of Lancaster-UK.

Ms Batista is currently a Level 1C research fellow of the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). She has published more than 200 papers and supervised 35 MSc dissertations and 12 PhD theses. She has experience in the area of Computer Science, with an emphasis on Software Architecture and Distributed Systems, working mainly on the following topics: Architecture Modelling, Cloud and Edge Computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and Middleware. 

 SBC President Thais Vasconcelos Batista Image Source: SBC

Senele Goba is President, Board Chairperson and Non-Executive Director at the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (IITPSA). She is a founder and director at 4IR Innovations (Pty) Ltd, specialising in Industrial Automation, Technology Innovation and Educational Technology, with a particular focus on Computer Science education. She is also the founder of the Ososayensi Education Advancement, a community development non-profit organisation dedicated to introducing young learners in underserved communities to STEM. 

Ms Goba is an active member of the Women in Information Technology (WIIT) Chapter within IITPSA and serves as the deputy chairperson of the Institute’s KZN Chapter. Her passion lies in STEM education, particularly in the field of Technology.

IITPSA President Senele Goba Image Source: IITPSA

Joice Benza is President of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe (CSZ). She is the founder, Managing Consultant and CEO of X-Pert Solutions, which focuses on delivery of Business Strategy, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategies and Solutions, as well as Cybersecurity and Project Management. 

Prior to setting up X-Pert Solutions and as a past Senior ICT Executive and Chief Information Officer at the helm of large corporates, she had successfully delivered digital transformation projects through the implementation of a multiplicity of ERP, CRM, Cybersecurity and other business systems including infrastructure projects and successfully implemented ICT Strategies and managed ICT operations.

IFIP President Anthony Wong congratulates all women leaders in our IFIP Member Societies!

CSZ President Joice Benza Image Source: CSZ