Women in tech roles should be a priority, say IT experts

Encouraging women into tech roles should be a priority for business, according to new book from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Increasing the number of women in digital jobs is an urgent priority to ensure the diverse mix of skills the tech industry needs to benefit society and the economy, said the organisation.

Women in Tech - by Gillian Arnold, Hannah Dee, Clem Herman, Sharon Moore, Andrea Palmer and Shilpa Shah, is a practical guide to increasing gender diversity and inclusion, which acknowledges that the technology industry is “not diverse and gender inclusive.”

The book tackles the gender imbalance in technology professions offers expertise, initiatives and true stories to support those wishing to bring greater gender diversity into the workplace.

It aims to inform regarding background, theory and policy; advise on concrete actions that can be undertaken, and to be an exemplar for companies, organisations, establishments and campaigns in the form of real-world case studies.

“There is a real skills-based need to act now in the industry and the technical professions,” said editor Gillian Arnold. “In the UK, the proportion of women in technology roles has remained stubbornly beneath 20 per cent for the last twenty years.”

Arnold added: “Women have also been the ones to take on the majority of the caring responsibilities during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and consequently their jobs and prospects have suffered.”

She said that the book lays out some of the “sound business reasons” that organisations can use to ensure that their whole workforce, from executives through coders, tech specialists and design engineers, recognises and upholds the benefits of diversity and inclusion.

“It also looks at the support and encouragement available to girls and young women who want to pursue a technical career and outlines the work that is being done on this in schools, universities and colleges, and at a nationwide level,” continued the editor. “It focuses on the steps required to establish projects to attract and retain women in the technology workforce, and drill down into specific activities for both areas.”

The book explores some of the biases that have led careers in technology to be “discounted for women” and how those can be countered.

“This book is a positive step forward for gender diversity and looks forward to practically supporting the reader to improve gender balance in their organisation,” said Kay Hussain, chief executive, Women Into Science and Engineering (WISE.) “With WISE Ten Steps we have a recommended and practical programme that is proven to be impactful. Together we all can successfully address the challenge and thereby benefit individuals, families, communities and the country.”

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