Women began dropping out of ICT roles in 1984, the same year personal computers were on the rise, according to Lynwen Connick, First Assistant Secretary - Cyber Policy and Intelligence Division, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
There are strong economic and business performance arguments driving the desire to see more women enter the IT workforce. The diversity and workforce lead for IBM Australia and New Zealand, Belinda Curtis, points to several studies demonstrating stronger corporate performance when women represent a high proportion of senior leadership or board positions.
Like most Year 10 girls, Rebekah Eden never planned on a career in the IT industry. Popular culture had conditioned her to believe that IT was all about lonely individuals hunched over computers for hours and hours on end. Instead, her studies were taking her towards a preferred career in forensic science. It was exposure to the industry through a week-long EXITE (Exploring Interest in Technology and Engineering) camp organised by IBM that changed her mind. During that week she was shown different aspects of the IT industry, from programming robots to developing websites. The experience completely changed her mind.