About a year ago, CMSWire reported on the number of women resigning from information technology jobs in the UK. A new report now indicates that women in IT in the US are declining as well.
In 2006, women made up only 26.7 percent of computer and mathematical positions according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The downward trend has been found across all IT jobs categories with only 16 percent of all network and computer systems administrator positions being held by women in 2006, dropping from 23.4 percent in 2000. Women represented 27 percent of computer and Information Systems managers in 2006 compared to the 66 percent of women in the right-brained world of social and community service management. Dropping from a 37 percent representation in the mid-eighties to just a quarter of the IT workforce in the States at present. So what's the deal? Is this a significant indication of a glass ceiling or of a boys club among the world of information technology? Maybe it is an indication that women are able to contribute through other under-reported careers within non-profits and entrepreneurial opportunities. Case in point, CNN Money has reported that women exercise their power horizontally with the horizontal slant advancing "women leaders to reach beyond the jobs they’re hired to do".
In addition, Reuters reports that data from the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey "found that the number of full-time working mothers born between 1966 and 1975 has risen to 38 percent, up from 5.6 percent among women born between 1926 and 1935". The rise of women in the workforce is subject to continue as "educational levels continue to rise and women seek out high-level careers".
Maybe women are finding other unconventional ways to get experience with IT. In New York state, the Empire State Development Corp. hosted a "jump start event" held for more than 140 technology sector businesses owned by minorities and women in New York. The goal was to connect the minority and women-owned companies with 40 of the largest information technology companies currently doing business with the state for jobs and contracts. With 3 percent of state contracts in recent years going to minority and women-owned businesses, officials estimate said minority operators own 23 percent of businesses and women own 26 percent.
Not to downplay the decrease in women in IT, but numbers alone don't necessarily describe the current situation. Perhaps it's not something that needs to be remedied, but explored from different perspectives.
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