Why the ITEC’s IT Girls campaign is so important
Every year the IT professional workforce requires almost 21,000 new entrants directly from education. At present, only 17% of IT professionals and only 15% of students on IT-related degrees in the UK are female and a solution is needed to increase the participation of under-represented groups like women.
Although teenage girls are now using computers and the internet at rates similar to their male counterparts, they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career or plan on taking post-16 technology courses.
Here at ITEC, we’ve found that many girls don’t realise what an IT career can involve and see the sector as male-dominated, geeky and complex. In fact, men and women seem to view computers very differently. Our female learners are more likely to say that they use the computer as a tool in a social or domestic context, e.g. Facebook, online banking, online shopping, etc., whereas our male learners are more likely to express an interest in the computer as a machine, something to have fun with and play games on.
Women in technical roles often feel that the skills and feedback they bring to their jobs are not valued, although 65% of females in technical roles report that their senior managers are receptive and responsive to their suggestions. However, it is not enough to just acknowledge skills. Women lack the support and advocacy needed to promote their IT skills, i.e. role models, support networks, mentors. These support systems not only help women develop talent and opportunities for career advancement, but they are also needed to promote women to more senior roles. Advocacy is a major player in the advancement of female IT workers into senior technical roles.
At ITEC, we want to ensure that girls are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts to gain new skills in technology and understand more about IT careers. We have employers who advocate women in technology and we have positive role models in the workplace, often female learners who have come through the ITEC training programmes themselves. To find out more, check out our web site http://www.iteclt.co.uk
Source: E-Skills Girls in IT campaign, Wikipaedia