Seminar To Help Women Smash Male Monopoly

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A free seminar next week will show women how they can get ahead in the male-dominated IT industry

Advocates of women in IT will address female graduates next week at a free seminar in London. Four short presentations will be delivered by women who have achieved success in the IT industry and now work to support and advise other women who want to do so.

The talks highlight the opportunities and support available for women in IT.  Women in Technology and the UKRC will also be attending the meeting at training firm FDM’s London Bridge offices on August 17. As the industry continues to grapple with a severe and worsening gender imbalance the experts will offer case studies and networking tips to help women get ahead.

One of the speakers is Maggie Berry, managing director of Women in Technology. She said: “We are dedicated to encouraging as many female graduates as possible to actively embark on a career in IT as there are lots of exciting, and potentially well paid, opportunities available to them. This FDM-run event will be an excellent way of reaching out to these young women.”

Veronica Benson, the UKRC’s South East Hub Manager will also speak at the event and female FDM employees will share their experiences.

Where are all the women?

Government body eSkills reckons the number of women in the UK’s IT industry fell from 22 percent to 18 percent, despite women making up 47 percent of the UK’s workforce. Research findings from the UK’s IT Job Board, a well known recruitment site, indicated earlier this year that just 16 percent of all IT job seekers are women.

The reported 13 percent wage gap between male and female IT workers does not help, but the consensus is a large part of the problem stems from schools. Girls consistently outperform boys in IT-related subjects at school but the ‘geek factor’ often leads to disengagement from IT subjects between ages of 11 and 15.

The industry needs to find a better way to tap into that talent and a number of initiatives have sprung up to help the industry tap into that talent, such as Computer Club for Girls (CC4G). The online ‘after-school club in a box’ scheme tries to engage girls by showing them IT use in areas like music, fashion and celebrity.

eSkills claims CC4G has reached 135,000 girls in more than 3,700 schools and 84 percent of girls who have taken part say they would consider further education or a career in technology.

Sue Black is senior research associate at UCL and founder of the BCSWomen online network where female members of the Chartered Institute for IT can share advice and experience.

She recognises the merits of initiatives like CC4G but the figures show the problem is getting worse and says a more unified approach is required.

“Individual programmes make a lot of difference in a localised way but we need government, industry and education to talk to each other and decide on a high-level strategy in order to make any impact,” she said.

“The only way I can really see change happening is if the government put its weight behind the problem together with industry leaders, and universities’ and schools’ leaders.”

Black also says female’s need more access to role models in IT, which seminars such as FDM’s can provide.

She said: “If you see people like yourself who have climbed up the ladder and are doing well it gives you the confidence that you could do the same thing.”

FDM’s ‘Women in IT Advantage Session’ will run from 5-7pm, August 17. Email  to register.

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