Fewer women in top U.S. tech jobs since 2010: Only half of survey respondents think it’s a problem

May 15, 2012 at 9:50 am 5 comments

Despite all the efforts of NSF BPC programs, the number of women graduating with undergraduate degrees in computing is not rising. Now, Reuters reports that the number of women in top technology positions has dropped for the second year in a row, despite the efforts of groups like the Anita Borg Institute and NCWIT.

There’s no direct causal relationship between those two sentences — it takes too many years for undergraduates to reach the top technology positions.  But I do wonder if there are similar external variables influencing each.  Is our society saying loudly and clearly to women, “don’t go into computing”?  And that message is showing results at both the undergraduate and executive levels?

That last sentence in the quote below is perhaps the most confusing.  Only 9% of top positions are held by women, 30% of respondents say that they have no women in upper-level positions — but only half of respondents think that women are under-represented in IT?  Perhaps no one pointed out to the respondents that women are half the population?  I can understand the argument that talent, perhaps especially executive talent, is not distributed evenly.  But why should anyone believe that such talent is only in the men?  And how can one believe no women have such talent in 30% of the respondents’ companies?

The number of women in senior technology positions at U.S. companies is down for the second year in a row, according to a survey published on Monday.

Nine percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) are female, down from 11 percent last year and 12 percent in 2010, according to the survey by the U.S. arm of British technology outsourcing and recruitment company Harvey Nash Group.

About 30 percent of those polled said their information technology (IT) organization has no women at all in management. Yet only about half of survey respondents consider women to be under-represented in the IT department.

via Fewer women in top U.S. tech jobs since 2010: survey | Reuters.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alfred Thompson  |  May 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I think that a lot of people just don’t think about the effects of a male dominated field. Or for that matter of any non diverse field. They don’t know about research that shows that diversity helps productivity. They think they are as good as anyone at thinking about what other types of people want.

  • 2. Jeffty  |  May 15, 2012 at 10:35 am

    In my experience a large number of male techs think men are better at tech than woman and they think that it’s intrinsic, and they think they aren’t sexist at all, but rather enlightened enough to see it despite the (supposed) unpopularity of their views. Like they are somehow brave to admit that men are better than women at these kinds of jobs, and they are proud to say so. The first time I really saw this, it really blew my mind and made me depressed. And once you see, you can’t unsee, so it’s just part of my reality now. One good place to spectate on this phenomenon used to be Slashdot, whenever they’d run a story like this.

  • 3. Kim Wilkens (@kimxtom)  |  May 19, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Because I’m trying to start a local non-profit to empower girls to imagine new futures for themselves in computing, I’ve been talking about the gender equity issues with anyone who will listen to me and everyone is surprised to learn they still exist and that in fact, stats show the gap is widening. I think most folks feel, as I used to feel, that we had the feminist movement and have moved on and that if women choose not to be in IT, that’s their choice. I don’t think it really occurs to most of us that the problem may not really be a matter of choice because for there to be choice, you have to know the option exists in the first place. By and large, our K12 educational system does not offer up computing as a choice. And don’t even get me started on stereotypes.

  • […] did my monthly post at Blog@CACM on the some of the recent data on how few women there were in computing.  I suggested that things haven’t got better in the last 10 years because we really […]

  • […] If the reporter really understood NSA’s strategies for building up their cybersecurity workforce, they would said “personpower” instead of “manpower.”  NSA is a big supporter of the Anita Borg Institute and the Grace Hopper Conference.  They recognize that they’ll need women to help fill those cybersecurity ranks. […]


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