Women in IT are sometimes considered a bit of a rarity - and while there may be some truth in that, there are many women making a real difference in the industry every day, and Laura is one of them.
The Women in IT Excellence Awards recognise and highlight the important role that women play in the IT industry as entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders and pioneers.
Laura has been shortlisted as a result of her tireless work over the last six years keeping people safe online. During that time she has spoken up for those without a voice, fought for funding for services that work, helped shape the terms of the biggest social media companies to keep their users safe, and offered support to the most vulnerable internet users.
In her role Laura oversees all the helpline services and online safety operations at SWGfL and the UK Safer Internet Centre. She has set up two helplines from scratch, the Professionals Online Safety Helpline (POSH) and the Revenge Porn (RP) Helpline.
POSH supports the entire UK children’s workforce with online safety issues and the children they work with. The RP Helpline supports UK victims of non-consensual image based abuse (so called “Revenge Porn”). Both helplines offer free non judgement advice and support, work with social media companies to remove harmful digital content, and provide advice to police, industry and government about keeping internet users safe.
Last year Angela Clarke dedicated her book, Watch Me to Laura and her team, which reads “Dedicated to Laura Higgins and to all those who work tirelessly to help and advocate change at the Revenge Porn Helpline".
I feel incredibly honoured to have been shortlisted for this award. I consider myself lucky to be able to work in an industry which I am passionate about and to fight for causes that I believe in.
Awards like this play an important role in society as they recognise the hard work of the many women working in the IT industry, as well as demonstrate to young women that they should never see their gender as a barrier to whatever it is they want to achieve.