Women in IT and Science

Recent research in the US reveals that women are ‘outnumbered and out-earned’ in science.  Men are taking home an average of $1,117 to a woman’s $853 per week while the mean suggested starting salary for women was lower.  The research also found that all women –whether they had children or not – were at a similar disadvantage.

Meanwhile in Europe, the European Commission, working with international ICT stakeholders, has created the European Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT, stating that women are underrepresented in the industry as a whole and in particular in decision-making roles.

The Code represents recent positive developments and aims to ensure that more women choose ICT and are encouraged and supported in the industry.

Recommended changes in education 

  • Schools and universities should organise career events which feature successful female role models
  • Educate teachers as to possible job opportunities
  • Encourage mentoring programmes between young female engineers and students

Recommended changes to recruitment practices

  • Use gender neutral – or female friendly – vocabulary when advertising vacancies
  • Use recruitment procedures that promote diversity
  • Analyse the company’s gender statistics and compare them with local and sector market
  •  Set targets designed to improve gender balance
  • Apply flexible working practices at all levels – including senior management positions

Career development 

  • Offer competence development programmes
  • Finance care expenses (e.g. childcare) when training outside usual working hours
  • Make career planning a responsibility of the organisation and the individual and apply equal opportunities principles in exercising this responsibility

Monitor career development

  • Collect and analyse relevant statistics
  • Create processes to monitor relevant company policies
  • Introduce mentoring programmes

Work/family balance

  • Promote a positive philosophy of maternity/paternity leave
  • Produce guidelines  to ensure staff on leave (e.g. parental leave) are managed appropriately to ensure inclusion
  • Set up resource and competence monitoring during leaves of absence to identify training and support requirements for returners

About Val Skelton

I am the editor of Information Today, Europe. On the main site, we cover news and publish feature articles by information, research and knoweldge practitioners and thought leaders. On this blog, we aim to cover other topics of interest to our readers.

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