The role of women in the IT sector
The IT industry in the UK and France, is one of the sectors that recruits the most. The wage gap between men and women in this sector , is one of the lowest (9%, compared with an average of 16.3% for the entire market).
Women represent only 25% of IT employees and only 13% of students in specialist IT engineering schools. A paradox since 70 years ago, the programming of the first computer was entrusted to women. Faced with this imbalance, web players are mobilizing.
Objective: to encourage women to move towards informatics and digital technology, to ensure it is an attractive industry.
Despite these positive intentions, very few women still apply for these jobs. The female employment rate in computer science is only 25%, which makes it one of the least feminized sectors, alongside mechanics, metallurgy, electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles and aeronautics. This proportion is further reduced when computer executive positions (10%), network engineers (9%) or industrial computing (14%) are examined.
The shortage of female candidates stems essentially from a constant imbalance in training courses. If women represent 40% of the workforce in High School, and achieve better results than men in science, only 20% are likely to move towards post-graduate science professions. And this trend is not improving.
According to the study “MutationnElles 2011” conducted by Global Contact, “the sector of Services and Technologies of Information and Communication (…) attracts fewer candidates than three years ago: less than 5% of staff of women trained between 2007 and 2010 “.
Computer science, like general science, automotive, aeronautics and mechanics do not attract young women, perhaps because of the lack of integration of these subjects in their general education. Numerous studies, cited in particular by books on sexism, have shown that stereotypes direct girls to activities defined by the term “care”.
Engineering trades, in computer science or otherwise, generally attract less women for a variety of reasons. According to “MutationnElles”, the reluctance of young women to engage in these are the following:
– Lack of flexibility between work and private life
– Low presence of women in promotions plans
– Lack of support before and after maternity leave
“The feminization of the engineering profession continues to regress,” concludes this study. More generally, the proportion of female managers has decreased since 2008, from 17% to 16%, while the overall number of such jobs has increased during the same period.
The trend seems to be reversed if we look more closely at the employment rate of female engineers by sector of activity. The digital sector has become the first in terms of recruitment: 14% of jobs compared to only 11% in agribusiness and 10% in chemistry
To attract more women to computer science, it would be necessary to modify the image of the multiple existing channels, engineering schools, alternating training or apprenticeships. It would also be useful to integrate computing science into the mainstream of primary and secondary education.
But it is also up to companies to change attitudes, break sexist codes, respect equality and parity. Recruitment criteria should always avoid putting women on a pedestal, choosing her based on her presentation or charm. By judging candidates based purely on their experiences, their ideas, their involvement, their determination, without discrimination, a good recruiter should try to restore the balance between men and women within a company, all in the hope that more and more women will choose to work in the computing industry.
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