Did You Know?

Newspaper

We’re aware that gender stereotypes are one of the challenges in attracting more women into technology occupations; but did you know that they’re also a cause of salary discrepancies once women enter the field? According to data provided by the Information Technology and Contract Recruitment Association (ITCRA) about Australian ICT firms, subtle attitudes and assumptions are partly to blame for the separation of men and women into certain types of IT roles . For example, female technology trainers are paid more ($73,000 compared to $77,000), while male technology trades workers earn more than their female counterparts ($85,000 compared to $72,000). The ITCRA notes that this is in-line with traditional gender constructs depicting women as having better soft skills, like communications, while men are assumed to have better technical skills and be more willing to separate family and work life.

“From a distance, it could be argued that there’s no significant pay gap in the ICT sector, but when we look closer, it’s clear both males and females are being actively encouraged into certain roles while simultaneously being actively discouraged from other roles, and this is entrenched by pay practices,” said ITCRA chief executive, Julie Mills. “… our economic growth is coming from a two-speed economy, where trades and technicians are in greater demand … if women aren’t in these roles, they will be left behind in terms of pay and job prospects.”

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By now you’ve probably seen the new statistics from CRA on the 10% increase in computer science enrollments. But did you know that the increase comes with a potential danger? In a guest post at Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog, Stanford professor Eric Roberts cautions that if uptick in student enthusiasm turns out to be widespread, it will require a departmental shift from building interest to building capacity. In noting that enrollment in Stanford’s CS1 course is up more than 50% from the previous year, Roberts comments that “It seems to me that we need to determine if this growth does represent yet another sea-change in the altogether-too-cyclical history of our discipline and, if so, to find some way to respond before we find ourselves drowning in an ocean of students that we have no capacity to support.”

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Did you know that nearly 150,000 tech jobs will be added to the economy this year? That’s the prediction from Moody’s, and it’s on-track with other predictions from the Department of Labor and the 83 percent of tech startup companies who plan to hire this year, according to Silicon Valley Bank. But the “low and stagnant” numbers of women who are positioned to fill those jobs represents a missed opportunity – not just for the women themselves, but for the companies who would hire them. Now is the time to kick our work into high gear, because – as PC Mag notes –  “While employment opportunities in the technology sector may grow this year, it's unlikely that many women will benefit—which is to the disadvantage of small startup companies who might otherwise benefit from an early influx of diverse points of view.”

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Did you know that, according to Deloitte, women are the “Next Smart Business Strategy”? In what it calls the “gender dividend,” recent research from Deloitte finds “direct correlations between increases in women in the workforce and increases in National GDP” and  “a positive and often double-digit difference in productivity between those organizations with more women as leaders compared to those with less.” Benefits of investment in the gender dividend include “a better strategic position in terms of the broader socio-political environment; an ability to compete successfully in a global market; significant cost reductions in unwanted turnover; building a Talent Brand among female Talent; increased sales, expanded markets, increased innovation and improved recruitment and retention of a key talent segment.”

Reaping the Gender Dividend, however, requires going well beyond achieving the numbers … “It requires a concerted, strategic focus on how to fully integrate women’s experiences, perspectives, and voices into the fabric of an organization; as history has shown, this will not happen on its own. Instead, senior leaders must elevate women’s advancement to a strategic objective tied to their overall plan for growth—and having a business case is critical to getting started.” We encourage you to read the full report, here.

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Did you hear about the LA Unified School District physics teacher who raised $6 million to launch an in-school engineering academy and landed a MacArthur Genius award in the process? We send you into the weekend with this utterly inspirational story about a teacher who loves teaching, kids who love robotics, and a community that pitched in to support effective approaches and kids’ enthusiasm for learning STEM subjects.

Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.