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Over the past five years, the number of IT jobs has grown by 50%, creating 336,000 positions, compared with a general job growth rate of 8%. But although women make up about half of the UK workforce only 22% of the people working in the IT sector are women.
The recruitment initiative, due to start next year, will include moves to get more girls using IT in school; help young women making their first career choices more aware of IT opportunities; work with business to improve how they recruit and retain women; and offer advice about IT jobs to women who are unemployed, returning to work or who are looking for a career change.
Launching the initiative, Patricia Hewitt, minister for trade and industry, said that for many girls of school age the image of IT was one of "computer geek rather than computer chic". She explained that the Government would be aiming to give the IT industry a well-needed makeover in order to make it more attractive to women.
A report entitled Women Participating in IT, Electronics and Communications is due to be published next month by the Department of Trade & Industry and the Department for Education and Skills.