The Representation of Women in IT

I am a woman working in the IT industry and for me, this is one of the most important issues that need to be addressed.

Women are still underrepresented in information and communication technology (ICT) jobs, top management, and academic careers, even though IT companies are desperately looking for human resources. To let numbers speak, according to the latest OECD data (Q4/2020), only 30% of workers in the information and communication sector were women (aged 15+, EU27); in other words, for every woman, there were more than two men. What’s more, men are four times more likely than women to be ICT specialists (OECD). This ratio has remained relatively unchanged since the 1970s, even though the number of women joining the workforce has steadily increased.

But what is the problem? There are several reasons for this, all based on the lack of support systems:

  • The biggest obstacle for women in tech careers is related to education. In 2018, considering upper secondary and tertiary education, only 17% of women studied ICT-related subjects in the EU (Eurostat). Moreover, female enrolment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), which is a basis for performing well in a digital world, is relatively low.
  • Moreover, women are still faced with social stereotypes, with men being considered the main breadwinners while women are still associated with caring for others. Mothers in particular scale back their careers by reducing working hours or accepting less demanding roles.

However, workforce gender equality is powerful as it ensures equal representation, creating a more diverse workforce. Diversity, in turn, is a crucial driver of innovation. Different mindsets, ideas, and approaches lead to the development of more relevant software products and IT services in tune with customers’ – male and female -changing needs. Plus, it allows for a more balanced view on IT sector issues, making companies more adaptable. And we all remember the Econ-101 introductory class: Innovation is essential for growth and integral to a successful revenue-generating business.

What can companies do about that? Find out more in my recent Expert View “The Representation of Women in IT”. If you would like to share your feedback or personal experience, please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

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