NHS Digital has welcomed the signing of a charter by the UK government that aims to drive gender diversity in the country’s tech workforce.

The Tech Talent Charter applies to all organisations employing people in technology roles and attempts to address the under-representation of women in the industry.

The charter commits signatories to making efforts to promote the appointment of women in technical roles, this includes shortlisting female candidates for interviews wherever possible.

Organisations must also collect and submit anonymised data for an annual diversity report.

The announcement was welcomed by Eve Roodhouse, director of implementation and the digital environment, and chair of the Women’s Network at NHS Digital, who praised the organisation’s “talented women” who were “pushing the boundaries”.

Roodhouse also praised the internal efforts to support woman in the NHS, including the Women’s Network, established to support the professional and personal development of female employees and promote gender equality across the organisation’s upper ranks.

“We are always striving to do more to improve the balance of our workforce and so we are pleased the Government is signing up to this Charter and hope it gets the backing of the private sector as well as the public sector,” she said.

“We know that to solve the big problems we face in areas like cybersecurity we need a diverse workforce. We promote equality and diversity awareness at all levels and are very keen to develop all our staff to reach their potential.

Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, will write to major tech firms asking them to sign up to the charter.

Cisco, Dell and Sage are among the 125 companies who have already signed up to the initiative. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was the first government department to sign the charter, with other government departments “now following suit.”

DCMS secretary of state, Matt Hancock, said: “Cracking the challenge is in part about changing the education system but it’s also about changing the culture and opening up.”