Women in High Level Management – Few Opportunities?

There are few opportunities for women to progress to the highest levels in IT Management. True or false?

This was the question I decided to pose, after much delibertation with my tutor, as the focal point for a 3000 word research report I had to complete for one of my year 3 degree modules. Full report here

It’s quite a question and was likely to raise a few strong points. Doing research on this topic turned out to be a rather large learning curve that I hadn’t really anticipated and it exposed me to so many different thoughts and ideas.

I arranged to interview three different subjects, all involved with the technology industry in a large way but in a variety of different roles. All of the interviews highlighted some points I’d never really considered and have posed questions that I’d like to find some answers to. Such questions as, “What are we doing to make all domains of IT exposed?” and “If women are doing HE in a technology related subject and have seen and dealt with the fact there has been a lack of information available and that the sector is dominated predominately by males why do they then take a different career path?”

My report conclusion states that the results indicated the originally posed question to be false. There are no fewer opportunities for women in the higher levels of IT management than there are for men. On interviewing Alan Dean. He brought up that

“There are few opportunities for anyone, male or female, to progress to the highest levels of IT Management in my experience. This is largely because the top of any ladder is usually attained via dead shoes and IT management is relatively youthful”

I believe this to be true. It is not a gender based problem, the reason you see fewer women in higher levels of management in IT is simply because there are less of them to start with, it would be quite incredible to find a higher percentage of women in high level IT management roles than in the industry as a whole.

We are losing a lot of women between Higher Education and pursuing working in the sector and I am confused as to why this is happening, if they are doing HE and have seen and dealt with the fact there has been a lack of information available and that the sector is dominated predominately by males why do they then take a different career path?

Awareness of the different roles within IT is a large issue and I feel it needs to be addressed to entice females into IT. IT is perceived as being ‘Techy’ but that is not all it involves and there are some highly communicative roles within IT which until undertaking this report I myself was not aware of. So what are we doing to make all domains of IT exposed?

There does seem to be a underlying communication issue between the genders. This I believe is down to a number of attributing factors, the difference between the genders as a whole; males often perceive things differently to females and although this can create a positive impact on the productivity of a team it can cause communication issues to arise and as such I question “Do women need to be more direct when communicating or do men need to be more sympathetic in their approach to communicating with women?” “Is this just a cultural based issue or is this something that is a genetic trait of males and females?” “Do other countries have these issues?”. These would be areas I would be interested in researching further.

I think that the lack of confidence females appear to have could attribute to the communication barriers they are experiencing. The articles and interviews mentioned in this report relating to the confidence of females within the industry suggest that they feel less confident in themselves not their abilities and that they air on the side of caution, although it was interesting to find that when interviewing a male on the topic he felt women were more confident. So is this an example of communication failure or has the research just not been done on a wide enough scale?

If you are interested in reading the full report with statistics and graphs you will find it here.

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