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Advancing Women in Technology
As Founder and CEO of The Glass Hammer and Evolved Employer, I’m pleased to present our first ever white paper – and this one tackles an interesting issue. Where are the women in IT?
What brought this topic to my attention was the report “Women in IT: The Facts” by the National Center for Women & Information Technology. The research showed that the percentage of computer-related jobs held by women has declined over the past two decades, from 36% in 1991, to just above 25% in 2008. That same report also showed that fewer women are studying computer science than ever (in 1985,
women earned 37% of computer and information science degrees, but fast forward to 2008, when women only earned 18% of those degrees). My initial reaction was disbelief.
But, the facts are the facts.
What is it about technology that leads girls away from the field in the first place? What is the impact of workplace culture on the women who are already there? And why are there so few? Is it a skills issue? Or is it something much deeper? Finally, what are successful women in technology doing right?
The Glass Hammer has a unique audience – our readers are professional women excited about advancing their careers. In search of some answers, we polled a sample of our readers who work on tech teams to find out how they felt about issues like advancement, gender, sponsorship, networking, and more. And we found that this is an ambitious group of women. In our sample, 80.23% of our respondents agreed or strongly agreed that promotion was a top priority in the next five years.
The study shows that while women in technology understand the need for building a network and finding a sponsor in order to advance their careers, many women aren’t approaching career development in a strategic manner. There are many moving parts when it comes to advancement, and it would be prudent for companies who want to best manage female talent in technology to ensure that programs are visible and appropriate to truly serve the purpose of creating opportunities for under-represented groups.