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Mar 04


This article from The Australian looks at the high under-representation of women in information technology and engineering. Bugger, eh? But it’s nothing we didn’t already know years ago.

Figures from the Department of Education, Science and Training show females were just 25 per cent of IT students in higher education in 2002, compared to 53.8 per cent in medical studies, 56.8 per cent in law, 56.1 per cent in accounting, 51.7 per cent in dentistry and 70.4 per cent in veterinary studies. … Engineering and related technologies is another a standout poor performer, attracting a female student body of just 15.9 per cent. …

Kaylene Clayton, who last year completed her honours thesis investigating school students’ perceptions of IT and how they influenced recruitment into IT studies, programs and careers, says IT is seen as geeky, nerdy and an antisocial occupation for socially inadequate people. …

“Girls really see IT as a tool, the boys are happy to get in there and tinker, the girls just want to get in and get it done,” she says.

I would say that the perceptions have a slight ring of truth, but remain largely a misconception. It’s just a stereotype branding that’s convenient and has stuck – nursing is for women, arts is for bludgers, etc. There are plenty of IT people who don’t match the description above – take a look at a lot of the bloggers and e/n people around. Then again there are plenty of people who do (anyone remember Bence? Although even he was funny).