Not enough women in Technology
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Not enough women in Technology

It is a conundrum faced by leaders in the Information Technology industry..While women make up about half the workforce they only account for 25% of the workers in IT. This flies in the face of the reality that women are early adopters of technology and make up the majority of users of the internet and are the top contributors and the top consumers of every social media site other than LinkedIn. Still the number of women choosing technology careers is actually on the wane.

This issue was a major topic for discussion at the World Congress on Information Technology which met in Montreal this week. The one seems to really understand why women are staying away from technology careers in droves.  A study of over 7000 high school students in Vancouver, BC seems to shed some light on the issue showed that the degree of interest in the field of computer science for teenage girls is comparably lower than that of teenage boys. The same effect is seen in higher education; for instance, only 4% of female college freshmen expressed intention to major in computer science in the US. Research has shown that some aspects about computing may discourage women. One of the biggest turn-offs is the “geek factor”. High school girls often envisage a career in computing as a lifetime in an isolated cubicle writing code. The “geek factor” affects both male and female high school students, but it seems to have more of a negative effect on the female students. Kirsten Sutton, VP and Managing Director of SAP Labs Canada suggests a big part of the problem is that there are not enough women in the industry to tell young women otherwise.

Mrs. Sutton’s company has set a target of 25% women managers..the figure currently stands at a little over 17%…To accomplish that goal the company is expanding its outreach programs.

Sutton says the industry needs the diversity of ideas that women bring to the table. She adds “Women are the ones using the software that we produce. So better that the customer you have out there is the person you have inside your organization building it,”

What do you think..why are so few women choosing technology careers?

Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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