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Pay gap, lack of role models to blame for ICT gender imbalance: EOWA

EOWA urges the industry to get involved in high school programs to encourage young women to take up a career in ICT.

The pay gap between women and men in ICT and the lack of senior female role models are the main reasons why young women are not taking up a career in ICT, according to Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).

Speaking ahead of an address to the VMWare Women in IT event in Sydney today, EOWA director Helen Conway used the research from the 2012 Remuneration Survey conducted by the Australian Computer Society to show how serious an issue the gender pay gap is in the industry. She said the research found that men in ICT earn, on average, 9.8 per cent more than women, even though women entering the industry start on comparable or slightly higher salaries.

With not enough women entering the industry, Conway said this has resulted in a lack of senior role models for young women to look up to, which further contributes to the problem of young women not thinking of IT as a suitable career choice.

Read Where are the women in IT?

“Male dominated industries are off-putting to women — when women don’t see senior female role models and examples, they fall back on traditional jobs.” She said.

“Australia has a very segregated occupational structure. Mining and ICT are not repelling women – far from it, many companies have active recruiting campaigns to find women.”

Conway urged for more organisations in the industry to get involved in high school programs that educate young women about diverse ICT career options and provide examples of senior women who have built successful and rewarding careers.

Read Addressing gender imbalance in the IT industry.

“Industries such as mining and ICT have seen the necessary talent pools of women are not there, and we see best practice among them where they are going to the high schools, which is where that pipeline starts,’’ Conway said.

“Some of the mining companies are showcasing their women, in films, and storytelling is a powerful tool.’’

According to EOWA’s snapshot of 12 ICT companies, about one-third of companies are involved in high school and tertiary programs, and have set targets for recruitment of women by using social media and industry networks. About a quarter of companies’ CEO are involved in gender diversity initiatives.

Read Creating more gender balance in IT.

Offering flexibility through remote work and mentoring programs for women who are starting out in their careers are the most common gender diversity initiatives across the companies, according to EOWA.

Follow Rebecca Merrett on Twitter: @Rebecca_Merrett

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Gordon Drennan


That's what someone from EOWA would say, wouldn't they. They have to believe that sort of stuff to even want to work there.

This whole article isn't fact constructed on evidence, it is belief constructed on politicial ideology.The speaker hasn't looked for evidence of why the result in the industry is what the statistics show it to be, she has simply gone looking for factors that might product that result. And has dismissed all the ones that aren't politically correct, like that men and women aren't identical in their capabilities, they have different capabilities that add up to about the same in total, and are therefore each better suited to a slightly different range of jobs. That women are better at some things, and men better at others. That's why women dominate in some industries, and men in others.

Trying to get the same number of women in jobs that men are inherently better at is as silly as trying to get an equal number of men in jobs women are better at.




Yes, Helen Conway is from the EOWA has a right to put her views forward on this issue. She used research from an Australian Computer Society report that showed there is a pay gap between men and women in the industry. Would this be a “belief” constructed on “political ideology”?

“Trying to get the same number of women in jobs that men are inherently better at...” Well, I think men and women are equally “inherently better at” and capable of having a successful career in ICT.

Charlynn Miller


"Trying to get the same number of women in jobs that men are inherently better at"... Sorry, Gordon, where is your evidence for this? Do you have statistics and research outputs on this "fact" that you have just stated? I think you will find that there is a plethora of evidence that reputes what you are claiming.

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