There are not enough women in the ICT industry. That is obvious. We were talking about it again at the North East ICT Managers meeting and a quick look around the table says it all. Eight authorities were represented and there were nine blokes. Across our services about a third of the staff are female but the picture is skewed by seniority. The higher up the so called tree then the more gender biased we become.
We are planning to put on a course for women in technology. We’ve been working with Dynamo North East who similarly see it as an opportunity to address. A work stream has been set up to see what can be done. It is led by women and the course is one of the proposed outcomes.
We asked ourselves this morning though what is the problem. Are we, as men, being patronising? Are we doing what we are always doing in identifying the problem without really understanding it and immediately leaping into fix mode? Are we trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist? Solutionism!
After some discussion we felt that there might be three issues rather than one: getting girls into the industry; developing women already in the industry; and getting the male dominated industry to make it more relevant to women.
A course for women in ICT may address on of these issues but then again it may not. Is the lack of women in the industry, or at least the disproportionate number, an issue with women, and issue with men or an issue that we should all address?
We agreed to put some names forward for a working group to design some useful interventions going forward. We also asked Graham to ask if it would be useful for some men to be present but we will leave that to the work stream.
Still, I think it is good that we at least continue to talk about such things.