As if on cue, after our blog yesterday alerting you to the impending closure of our survey on Sexism in IT, The Times newspaper, in its first leader no less, puts its not inconsiderable weight behind the economic argument that we simply must, as a nation, increase the number of women in IT.
Their leader, which you can read in full here, lays bare the state of affairs and notes (our underlining below) that the situation is actually getting worse rather than better.
"Figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services showed that fewer than one in six school leavers beginning an undergraduate degree in computer science last year was female and, far from improving, the trend has been going into reverse.
"The total number of girls taking either ICT or computer since at GCSE fell by 12 cent from last year, while the number of boys taking either subject increased by 6 per cent. Women account for only 17 per cent of IT professionals in this country, a figure unchanged for three years. A mere 12 per cent of software developers are female."
The Times also notes that while some people think this is a cultural issue, with women simply not wanting to work in computing, other countries, notably India (where women often have relatively poorer opportunities than men), don't have this problem.
Although The Times correctly identifies the problem as starting at school, there is undoubtedly a further problem, namely that it is difficult to encourage IT professionals to become teachers simply because they can earn so much more in industry. Solving that particular problem is key to tackling the bigger issue and will be a subject of another blog.
Gareth Biggerstaff, MD, Be-IT