Sisters are doing IT for themselves

The IT industry is a healthy, fast-moving and vibrant place to work. But why are women still turned off by tech?

Education is a wonderful thing

It's all well and good rectifying - or at least trying to rectify - the situation as it stands now and getting more women to consider an IT-related career or come back to working in the industry after a break but what about the future?

"We also need to look at the issue from the bottom up," adds Brown. "That's why programmes such as e-skills' UK Computer Clubs for Girls (CC4G), which Microsoft supports, are so important to encouraging more girls to consider a career in IT. We've got to excite women at an early age about using technology. It's already such a big part of their lives, and now we need to channel and encourage that interest."

Industry efforts

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The furore over the fact that women still seem to be getting a raw deal - or at least perceive they are which is stopping them from joining the IT ranks - isn't something that sceptics can continue to dismiss. It's based on cold hard facts about pay, promotion, attitude, culture and much much more.

Even the father of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has criticised the industry for displaying what he calls a "stupid" male geek culture, so it's not hard to see the problem is very real indeed.

But rather than laying blame at anyone's door, the focus should be on resolution and many industry players are already taking their responsibilities in this area much more seriously.

Five or 10 years from now, we shouldn't - more so don't want to - be having the same conversations about whether it's Arthur or Martha who should get that tech job or be paid properly for doing it. Much like securing the right to vote, fair pay and fair treatment in this vibrant industry should be something that the females of the future take fore granted.

"I'd go back to the time when the PC was first introduced," says Brown, when asked what she'd change about the industry if she had a time machine. "Mainframes were prevalent then, with an almost 50:50 split in male- female operators and programmers. I'd reposition the PC as an enabling 'tool' and not a cool 'toy.' I think the way men and women approach technology is very different; men view it as a toy and women view it as a tool."

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