If there is one thing from which the IT industry suffers most, it is the scarcity of female programmers.
There are a number of reasons for this – feelings of being deficient in mathematics and science, a lack of exposure to computers, the use of computers mostly for word processing, the masculine image of computers, and the absence of the female role models all of which contribute to the under-representation of women.
This is a disadvantage for all concerned parties – for the women who struggle to find jobs in other branches, for the IT companies that experience shortage of employees, even for the states that endure economical losses.
Suggestions for incorporating more women in IT careers include educational programs targeting women, girls’ computer clubs and camps, formal mentoring, events like Rails Girls, etc.
Even though, the gender imbalance in the field remains a considerable problem. Therefore, I would like to contribute to its solution by explaining from the point of view of a girl-programmer some of the perks of being a woman in IT.
So if you have some female friends you would gladly persuade to join IT, just show them this article and their CVs will be on your company Hr’s desk by next Monday.
1. Easy to find a jobI know not of another industry with as many open positions as computing. So it should be fairly easy for a programmer with some reasonable skills to land a job. Even more so, for a female programmer, because companies are constantly trying to even out the numbers by hiring more women. While the US and European governments are still debating about introducing mandatory quotas for women in upper-level management, some IT companies already have self-imposed gender quotas. Even though the effectiveness of such measures is highly questionable, the fact is, if you are a woman competing for a job in computing with a man with a similar level of skills, you are more likely to be chosen.
2. Financial stability and independenceIT takes pride in having some of the best paid jobs among all professional fields. Of course, this is an advantage for both genders, but it can be of exceptional importance to women for securing the coveted social status, financial stability and independence of men.
3. Good work environmentDespite the possible health issues resulting from the movement deprivation during work hours, a nice, clean and spacious office is an excellent work environment where you don’t get exposed to filth and extreme weather conditions. Besides, you could partly avoid the effects of the prolonged sitting by taking occasional exercise breaks.
4. Lots of menPersonally, I see a software company the way Jane Austen’s characters see a regiment of officers quartered in the nearby town. All day long, you are surrounded by dozens of intelligent, educated and promising young men. And as one of the few women in their circles, it should not be too hard for you to draw their attention if you wish to. If you don’t, they will respect your privacy and won’t bother you.
5. Improvement of the teamGender diversity has been suggested to give benefits such as better decision making, increased creativity, and enhanced, innovative performances. That, added to the rest of your competences, will have positive effects on the work of the whole team.
6. Creative workIt is said that women are naturally more prone to creativity than men and software engineering is exactly a field to offer many chances for one to show their resourcefulness. In addition, leaders with business and soft skills are sought after to fill such positions. Qualitative studies show that many women who are interested in technology are interested in a combination of technical and non-technical work. This interest is why women are often potentially a good fit to fill these roles.
7. Disproof that women aren’t fit for careers in science and technologyIn defiance of the popular prejudice that women can’t do work in the field of technology, you have the chance to prove everyone that professional success does not depend on one’s gender but rather on one’s personal qualities and talents. Who knows, maybe then you will become a role model yourself and inspire other girls to consider a career in IT.