IT industry is too apathetic to tackle gender discrimination

Research from IT and telecoms recruiter Greythorn shows 51% of female employees in the IT industry believe they have been victim to gender discrimination.

Paul Winchester, managing director of Greythorn, says while more than 60% of all IT workers say discrimination exists, half admit they wouldn’t take action to stop it.

In a guest blog post, Paul says apathy is the biggest obstacle to tackling gender discrimination:

The IT and telecoms industries have a long history of gender discrimination and has failed to do enough to change. Far too many IT workers are happy to blithely accept the status quo.

While more than half of women say they have suffered as a result of gender discrimination, 62% of the entire workforce agree it happens, but don’t think it needs to be remedied.

Apathy is the greatest barrier to change – and both men and women must work to make sure steps are taken to remedy problems as they occur. If you sit back and accept sexism in the workplace, you’re as much a part of the problem as those who actively discriminate.

One of the most surprising aspects of our research into this problem was that both men and women told us they would prefer a male boss. This shows gender discrimination is not entirely a top-down phenomenon, but also seems to work from the bottom up.

The majority of workers – of both sexes – prefer to work for men and appears to be feeding into promotion decisions. In this context, it’s no surprise 70% of women in the industry feel their gender is a barrier to success.

What’s more, three times more women than men said they would prefer a male boss. While it’s not fair to expect women to fight to eliminate gender discrimination alone, positive action to it will require them to take an active role in highlighting practices based on prejudice.

One stone-age idea, which seems to contribute to this blithe acceptance of discriminatory practices, is the myth that IT jobs are best suited to men. The same was once said about politics, reading the news and voting.