Inequalities in IT: female participation is far too low

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According to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, there are around 6,000 vacancies in the IT sector in Ireland. When talking about Europe, this figure fills out to a whopping 700,000. Some commentators believe that part of the problem with finding employees for these roles lies in the evident lack of female participation in the IT industry.

Several female industry leaders have claimed that there is not enough emphasis placed on STEM subjects (that is, science, technology, engineering and maths) in secondary schools. Another battle must be waged against the stereotype that IT is an exclusively male pursuit – a stereotype that seems to reinforce its own convictions, with the present ratio of 19 males to every one female worker in the IT sector.

IT Solution

Rosemaree Danaher, strategy and integration manager at IBM Ireland, said more action is needed to ensure girls have the choice to study STEM subjects:

‘The problem is around making technology cool and interesting for girls and we need to engage early and often to let them see that it isn’t all about coding or working in a lab.

‘The challenge is around creating role models so these young girls and women can see other successful role models and trailblazers and aspire to be like them.’

However, the solution does not lie solely with educators; businesses must also get involved if the imbalance is to be addressed.

Role Models

Julie Spillane, managing director of Accenture Global Services and chair of the Multinational Technology Forum, claims that females who have been successful in the industry can take a more proactive stance towards greater equality by making themselves more visible as role models: ‘I would say to these women, step up and get involved and let girls be inspired by role models’.

To browse some of the third-level Computing and IT courses in Ireland, follow the link.


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