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So…Where ARE the Women in I.T.?

September 20, 2011 - 8 Comments

In 2005, The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology published a report entitled “Where are the Women in Information Technology?”  Six years later, we’re still asking that same question—the focus of an article this week in Bloomberg/Business Week. Shockingly, the article reports that although women hold about half the jobs in the U.S. economy, they represent less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math positions. Ultimately, we need to not only stem the flow of women leaving the industry, but also leaving the associated fields of study in college.

Sunday evening, at a fundraiser dinner, a friend of mine who works for another technology company raised this same question. Looking around the room, she pointed out several of the brightest minds in technology, who happen to be women, and questioned why they weren’t more visible within their organizations and within the industry. Clearly, there’s an opportunity for our industry to make a big shift, but what will it take?

After the fundraiser, I went home to watch the Emmys, which I had recorded. Typically, when nominees are announced for different categories, each individual smiles into the camera, waiting for the winner to be announced. But last night, Amy Poehler broke the mold when it came to Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy. When her name was called as a nominee, she leapt out of her seat and rushed up on stage, triggering a wave of laughs. As each successive nominee in that category was announced, she followed Poehler’s lead. It was a great moment: All the successful women in that category on the stage together, presenting a united front.

Perhaps we should be taking a cue from them, women in IT. Maybe there’s something to taking the stage and owning it. Let’s not let another six years go by without an answer to ‘Where are the women in IT?’

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  1. This True. My wife has been working for 6 years now in IT field. from doing tech support job to handling network admin. Cisco made her dreams reachable for her, she start as tech support agent for LINKSYS-CISCO, now she working for a BPO giant as Admin.

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  2. Dear Marie..totally true! Very nice article!

  3. I am sure in 2011 this number would be improved.

  4. Well spoken, Marie! I think it’s important to teach our daughters that engineering (making things and understanding how they work) is fun and gratifying.

    Also related: Jolie O’Dell’s tweet yesterday urging women founders to “stop making startups about fashion, shopping, and babies” is getting a lot of attention:

  5. Great post and very well put Marie.
    I think at the end of the day its these things that highlight that no matter how much we are seen doing, we still live in a very narrow and shallow minded world. It is still sadly pretty much a mans world. However from reaching out at a near grass roots level at colleges and uni’s, potential IT workers can be assured of an equality of promotion and prospects in there line of work and if one generation can move forward in this man and stick to it, this will evolve the problem away.

  6. Marie,
    As an executive search consultant, I will share that although this field is somewhat dominated by men, we have made close to half of our placements this summer with extremely qualified women in high level technology positions. I am proud of this accomplishment and we at AdvanIS will continue to promote women in this industry!
    Best regards,
    Dave Clifford
    Chairman & CEO
    AdvanIS LLC

  7. Bravo Marie! Where are the women in IT? Some of us have been working from home, working part-time or flex-schedule…taking full advantage of some of the most attractive HR/family support packages in business today. Top 100 in Working Woman Magazine rankings last year? IBM, Dell, Microsoft and Cisco, of course. And while we have been ‘flexing’ we’ve been texting, Tweeting, blogging and Friending – building community, mentoring, and honing our own broadcast voices. We’re coming! We’re here! Keep inspiring us!

  8. Marie…thank you for posting this blog. I personally am very passionate about bridging the “technology” divide. The key is to encourage and provide a nurturing environment for all people regardless of race, gender, culture, etc.. to leverage math and science to pursue their dreams, visions, interests and passions. The biggest tragedy is a dream deferred or worst discouraged. Me being an African American male I can relate to the experiences, frustrations and questions posed in your blog. One of my favorite quotes is “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” I’m excited about working to make inclusion in all fields a reality. Its good for humanity……..BTW The Emmys could’ve benefited from more diversity 😉