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The News No One Wants To Hear

Got an old CIO Insight report recently that say, "the number of women working in information technology has declined, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of IT professionals."

Their article "Women in I.T. : Where the Girls Aren't" hits home at this house because we gals are all pretty technical. I often error on the side of believing the women I know are more technical than they give themselves credit for - even as I admit that I'm not as technical as I'd like to be. And I used to stop over at Misbehaving a lot - until they stopped posting.Technologyisagirlsbestfriend

I did find this link to a great tech program for girls, on Misbehaving, and I clicked over to the Women's Computer Learning Center to see what was up there. Apparently, everything is up there... especially learning how to use email effectively...which I wish more people would do.

"In 2 hours and for $49.95 you can learn everything you need to know about
email and the internet. Don’t feel out classed by your kids, your friends, neighbors or co-workers. Come Join the fun."

Back to the women in IT article... no one wants to hear that a particular skill is gender based, and yet some are. IT is not one of them, however. (I do think the guys have it over us in football, gals... and we have it way over them in rocking the baby to sleep)...but why are the numbers for women in technology going DOWN??? In this, the age of technology?

Here are the stats, from the article: (and yes, this is marketing to women online - this is content you should be aware of and be sharing):

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 984,000 women worked in eight IT categories in 2000, accounting for 28.9 percent of all employed IT workers. The corresponding numbers for 2006, when overall IT employment hit an all-time high of nearly 3.47 million, show a 7.7 percent drop from 2000, with 908,000 women working in IT, or just 26.2 percent of the total.

The reasons cited are "abrasive experiences"... "social stigma"... and "diminishing opportunities." I just don't buy it. The experiences, maybe...but young women I know can handle it. Better than we did when we were their age. Social stigma is a joke. Girls everywhere create their own Facebook and Myspace pages because they want to be "sociable"... they aren't feeling stigmatized. And, diminishing opps? Well, I can't speak for that...but I see a whole LOT of opps in technology, that come with some nice $$$.

So, gals, what is it, really? Tell us. We're counting on you to run the world in the coming decades. You can't do that if you're too busy parading around in tu-tus, sucking on lollipops... Come on, throw Britney out with the Barbie dolls and ... take your rightful place beside all the men who already know technology is the foundation of all life on earth.


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Lee Drake

I have always preferred a diverse workforce in my IT shop - especially in the male/female split. I have never noted any difference in Men's or Women's ability to DO the job (and I've hired women tech support and programmers). In general I believe having women on the team helps the team focus on customer desires and motivations better than an all-male team - they bring a different and important perspective to each scoping meeting.

I too lament the poor number of female candidates I get for good IT positions. Not sure what I can do about it personally other than to continue to hire and promote women in IT positions.

If any .NET/SQL programmers in the Rochester, NY area are looking for positions at a fun and growing firm - I've got some open as we speak (regardless of your chromosomal makeup)!

Lee Drake

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