In Computer Weekly's review of the best of the IT year in 2010, here we look back on the top 10 stories about women...
The proportion of women working in UK IT remains a stain on the profession, with barely 18% of the workforce being female. A more diverse IT community is essential to the future.
Over half of IT professionals surveyed by CWJobs.co.uk said they feel there is fair representation of women in IT. But how is that a 'fair' conclusion to reach? A report earlier this year found that only 23% of the UK's IT workforce were female.
Eileen Burbidge published a bit of a kick up the backside for women in technology on TechCrunch Europe. Her advice boils down to "stop making excuses and get on with it" - and her no-nonsense approach seems like the only logical one when you're surrounded by bosses and investors who say they want more women to get involved. The problem is that so few women are interested. They don't want to get involved in technology or the digital economy - they're choosing to enter other fields and not set up technical companies, and this is where the argument divides.
The IT sector is still more than six decades away from reaching gender pay parity, according to a report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Salaries for women in the industry increased by 2.1% over the past 12 months, compared to 1.4% for men. However, the average wage for male managers was £17,736 more than that of their female counterparts, the CMI said.
Just over half of IT professionals believe there is a fair representation of women in IT, but there is major disagreement about the pay disparity between the sexes. A study by CWJobs.co.uk of 5,556 IT professionals found 55% feel there is fair representation of women in the industry. On pay, 63% of women think they earn less than men but only 28% of men agree.
The IT industry is lagging behind other sectors in attracting more women into the profession, according to the organisers of a group to encourage women into technology. Silka Patel, executive assistant at Cisco and founder of Scotland Women in Technology, said a lot of women are opting for careers in other industries, as they seem to have been more successful in attracting girls at a younger age.
With a successful 20-year career in IT management in the financial services sector at firms such as Accenture, EDS and most recently, Standard Chartered Bank, Natasha Davydova is now taking her career to a brand new level. The newly-appointed managing director of group technology and operations at Deutsche Bank talked excitedly to Computer Weekly about her new role, which will see the bank's IT moving away from the current silo-driven approach.
The answer to this question is, of course, no. Women In Technology organises lots of networking events which are always popular. There was a piece in the Times recently entitled 'why are women such bad networkers?' That, understandably, grabbed my attention. Its overall message is: women aren't confident enough to network, men are better at it, women don't think it's important and are therefore to an extent 'invisible'. There is obviously a bit more to it than that though, you can read the whole article here.
Dame Wendy Hall called the current situation of women in technology "depressing" during an interview, saying the situation over the past 20 years has probably got worse. Despite the value of a positive spin on things demonstrated by Ada Lovelace Day in March, the drop in numbers over the past two decades is undeniable. Positivity is part of the solution, but focusing on the problems doesn't necessarily have to detract or depress the huge achievements of many women already working in the sector.
This is a great article featuring female technology researchers. It highlights people who have had a profound impact in computer science and the wider technology industry and shows just how huge women's contribution to technology has been. The only problem with this story is it's very long, and printed as an exchange between Iain Thomson and Shaun Nichols, so not the easiest thing to read quickly.
While the arguments about how to get a better gender balance in tech fly back and forth there is a small army of women who are getting on with running their own technology-related companies. computer Weekly highlighted a few female entrepreneurs working in the UK who had founded their own IT companies, or used technology to provide a product or service.