Why is there less women in IT between 80’s and 2010 in USA?
In the early 1980s, women accounted for just over 37% of all US college students earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science. By 2010, that percentage had fallen to a little more than 17%, according to latest available data from the National Science Foundation.
Sheryl Sandberg is calling on women to be more assertive, or to “lean in,” as she writes in her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. The book comes out at a time when women are significantly under-represented in US data centers.
Last year, women held only 26% of the jobs in computer-related occupations, up from 25% from 2011. That slight uptick notwithstanding, the overall number of female IT professionals has declined steadily since 2000, when women’s share of the computer-related jobs pool hit a peak of nearly 30%, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
Sandberg’s book has been criticised for its focus on “changing the women rather than changing the system,” said Jenny Slade, communications director at NCWIT. “But frankly, if she’d written a polemic on institutional bias in the workplace, she’d have been criticised for painting women as victims.”
Kim Stevenson, vice president and CIO at Intel, one of 24 female CIOs in Fortune 100 companies, said her company’s success in increasing the number of female employees in mid- to senior-level technical jobs since 2004 isn’t a fluke. Stevenson noted that Intel offers mentoring programs and opportunities for network-building for women – activities that Sandberg champions. The Women at Intel Network has 22 chapters.
Stevenson doesn’t share Sandberg’s view that progress for women has stalled, though she agrees that more can be done.
Karie Willyerd, vice president of learning and social adoption at SAP, said that unflattering stereotypes, like the depictions of engineers in the popular comic strip Dilbert, may have discouraged young girls from thinking about IT careers. But recent moves by building block maker Lego and other companies to create products aimed at exposing young girls to engineering could begin to change the cultural message, she added.
- Sandberg’s book prompts discussion on dearth of women in IT (techcentral.ie)
- Sheryl Sandberg: Women can lead and nurture (bizjournals.com)
- Sheryl Sandberg: Women have not made progress in corporate America in a decade (newsday.com)
- Sheryl Sandberg Leans In on Work-Life Balance for Women (fora.tv)