This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication - Western Union memo, 1876
DESPITE THE BEST EFFORTS of governments, education bodies and industry players, the number of females working in the IT sector is failing to increase, with men seemingly not so keen on letting more women enter their domain.
At present, women account for somewhere between 15 and 18 percent of IT professionals, a figure that the British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT, said has fallen significantly in recent years.
The latest findings from BCS have revealed an appetite for more women to enter the IT workplace, with 79 percent of the 771 BCS members who responded saying the industry would benefit from having more female workers.
However, this total is skewed by a high number of female votes. Only 67 percent of males answered yes to this question, compared to 89 percent of women.
This reluctance among male IT professionals could no doubt be a sticking point in evening out the IT gender balance, as women would be more likely to go for IT roles if they felt they were likely to get the job from male recruiters, and be valued.
The gender gap was also highlighted over the question of how easy it is for women to return to IT careers after a break for childcare. Only two percent of males rated this as very difficult, compared to 17 percent of women; while 22 percent of men saw this as very or quite easy, compared to only 11 percent of the female respondents.
Men were also much more likely to see the industry as offering equal opportunities for both sexes, with 56 percent agreeing with this statement, compared to only 22 percent of females. Sixty percent of women felt men get better opportunities than women, a statement only a fifth of men agreed with.
Tellingly, none of the female respondents cited better career advancements options available for women, while only four percent of men felt that women get a better deal.
When it comes to pay, 58 percent of female IT workers think their male counterparts get paid more than them; only one percent of men answering the survey felt women get a better deal.
The study also revealed that more than a third of firms employ five or fewer female IT staff, despite the participating organisations employing 66 IT staff each on average.
The study has been released by the BCS to launch its month of campaigning around women in IT. However, here at The INQUIRER, we think it'll take years rather than a month to change the deep-seated attitudes highlighted above. µ
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