IT needs women. For one thing, IT simply needs more people. Whatever your feelings are about the root cause of the so-called "skills gap" in IT, there's no arguing that IT jobs go unfilled every day because it's hard to find people to fill them. And when you think about how often the female population in a given IT sphere amounts to less than a tenth of the male population, well, it's clear that there's at least one obvious place too look for more IT professionals.
There are many other reasons, however, to actively and even eagerly recruit women and girls both into IT learning and education spheres, and into the IT profession itself. Greater diversity of gender means greater diversity of viewpoints, which can only make the IT profession stronger in the long run. Think about everything that information technology provides to the world already. How much more could we accomplish by adding more women to the equation?
It's often pointed out that women are, essentially, half the user base for technology products. In large part, however, those products are being designed and developed almost exclusively by men. Better user experience outcomes and quite possibly higher sales figures would surely result from having more women involved behind the scenes. Clearly technology products are already meeting many women's needs, but how much better could we be doing?
One thing that stands in the way of increasing the number of women involved in IT is the oft-discussed culture problem. For a variety of reasons, women who do choose IT careers often struggle to feel welcomed, accepted, and valued. There are salary disparity issues, harassment problems, lack of representation in management and executive positions, to name just a few. This article from Certification Magazine examines the situation more fully.
Saturday (Aug. 26) is Women's Equality Day here in the United States. We should all celebrate by committing to become more involved in opening up the IT industry to equal participation by skilled female professionals.
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