With the recent, “I look like an engineer” campaign, CEO of Force manager, Oscar Macia, sees gender imbalance in IT, why it exists and how to change existing perceptions of IT as a “male only” career choice. The campaign for “I look like an engineer” which was trending across social media brought memories of an old proverb that states; talk is cheap. For many decades now, the society has been talking about gender equality in all professions. Despite a great deal of progress being made, it is a fact that we cannot hide from that gender equality is far from being attained, not only in terms of career paths & pay but also in different sectors, in regards to STEM.
Breaking the Stereotype
In 2015, we now get ourselves with the same topic trending on Twitter, which resulted from a few raised eyebrows at a woman who featured on an advert for an engineering firm. This is a warning sign for everyone that the moment has come to a halt just speaking about gender balance but to actually commence taking action. The IT sector is required to place greater parity between the genders at the front of its priority list. The main point for an experienced person is to break the mentality of stereotypical thinking that most of the organisations sleepwalk into.
One of the major examples are the concerns about maternity and child rearing that most businesses contain in regards to employing, or providing parity to female workers. The idea here is setting aside why the stereotype is morally questionable if women are employed; organisations open up themselves to additional risk of losing staff to maternity leave, and posses a less committed, less dependable staff member to deal with further down the line. In other words, organisations should be focused on what they benefit from employing a prospective parent. When you have children, they can lead to development of new skills in both men and women, with organisations included, increased patience and multi-tasking skills that can be of great importance in a professional environment.
By breaking or turning the current stereotypes in different ways is one of the ways of the puzzle for the IT sector in order to attain greater gender parity. Moreover, the most important thing for the industry to do is to start changing the view of careers in the sector for female professionals. For over a long period of time, IT in most cases has been associated with men. IT services such as; creating computers, collecting data, and writing code have typically been recognized as “men’s work”. Concurrently, for over a long period of time there has not been a female representation in the sector bringing about an absence of role models to urge on women as they commence building their careers in their teenaged years. Due to the result of lack of women in the IT sector, it has become a self perpetuating cycle that still stays unbroken. With any increase of female representation in this sector, the pattern will slowly be eroded, for example, of women such as Marrisa Mayer continues to be appointed to high profile duties. For the IT sector, it should be aiming for better than to simply wait for time to tackle the issue and should be eager to proactively start the process.
IT companies require observations to uplift the industry within the education system so as to urge young women into obtaining the skills needed by the industry and should be showing that IT is a very good career choice for both boys and girls. Initiatives should comprise STEM speeches given by talented women that work in our profession and enabling that internship at IT or technology firms are raised equally to boys and girls. If expel the lazy stereotype that seems to harass the STEM sector and working in order to involve girls in technology, at an early age, then we will start to witness more females electing an IT career. The two pronged strategy will break the perpetuating cycle in existence so that a wider variety of skills and perspectives can be drawn into the sector. Definitely, this can result into a good thing.