Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Addressing gender issues in technology

Recent research from IDC (PDF) indicates that within the next five years, 90% of jobs in Europe will require IT skills and there are not enough skilled people on the job market. At the same time, there are few women participating in IT-based careers - more involvement from them could improve the situation (see my previous post on the European Schoolnet/Cisco research on this topic).

I've recently joined the executive committee of the European Centre for Women and Technology, a Norway-based non-profit aiming to improve women's participation in the knowledge economy and the IT industry. ECWT organises numerous activities through its member companies and organisations across the EU, including:
  • The European Directory for Women in Technology, a platform for women to network, find out more about training opportunities, and for organisations looking for e-Skilled women to find appropriate candidates.
  • The gender component of e-Skills Week, as well as providing the national contact points for Portugal and France
  • The Code of best practices, a voluntary agreement from IT companies such as Microsoft, Google, etc. The agreement commits them to implement a range of diversity practices, including the encouragment of girls and women in education and training, implement gender neutral recruitment policies and encourage work/life balance as well as family-friendly approaches.

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