Statistics show that the number of women in technology has declined from 24% to 18% over the past decade. We all know that the there is a lack of women in the technology industry but the real question is what are we going to do about this?
Having attended the FLOSSIE 2012 event a few weeks ago, and participating as a speaker, I found it a great opportunity to understand the views of other women who work within the tech industry. Whilst talking to some of the women and listening to the debates, it seemed that most of the women who currently work the tech industry followed this career path because they knew a family member who was in the same industry. I don't think I came across anyone who was at the event just because they were curious to see what getting into tech could do for them.
Getting women into technology can be done in many ways if done properly and consistently. Discussions at the FLOSSIE event brought about on suggestion which was brought up again and again which was that encouragement had to start at a very early age. Introducing it at primary school is the way forward. It's a chance to boost and assist the younger generation away from stereotypical or biased environment. It would be beneficial as it gives the perfect opportunity to teach in surroundings where both genders are learning together.
To encourage the younger female generation to follow a career within the technology industry, they need to have role models to look up to. If we can get more women into IT now, then the following generation will have the role models they need to aspire to. I don't ever remember having a female IT teacher at all throughout school, so even adding more female IT teachers into schools would be an encouragement.
I think the female role models that currently exist are not highlighted enough such as the likes of Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. We need to shout about the successes of women in IT and what they have achieved. For example Computer Weekly is currently holding a competition to find the most influential woman in IT. It's a great event and opportunity to show which women are making in impact within the technology world. This also provides a great networking opportunity where women can get to meet each other and discuss something they are passionate about.
We also need to destroy the image that IT is for geeks because it isn't. Anyone can get into technology as long as they find it intriguing and have a passion for it. Introducing more women in to technology provides more innovation and ideas within an organisation, which brings nothing but a huge amount of benefit. These all provide a great advantage for both individuals and organisations; after all technology is literally running the world in this day and age.