Big barriers facing women in the tech industry

Tuesday, 07 March, 2017

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Women in the tech sector are still facing wage inequality and workplace gender bias, according to an ISACA survey.

The top five barriers experienced by women in the industry have been identified in the report ‘The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers’ as a lack of mentors, lack of female role models, gender bias, unequal growth opportunities when compared with men and unequal pay for the same skills.

“Women are vastly under-represented in the global technology workforce,” said Jo Stewart-Rattray, board director of ISACA and director of information security and IT assurance at BRM Holdich.  

“This is not only a societal concern but also a workforce problem, given the critical shortage of skilled technology professionals faced by many enterprises. ISACA’s survey findings reinforce that there is much work left to be done. By providing more opportunities, including career advancement programs, we can make long overdue progress in ensuring that women are more equitably represented in the technology workforce.”

When asked about opportunities for professional growth, 75% of respondents state their employer lacks a gender leadership development program. Additionally, eight out 10 women report their supervisors are male and just 8% report never experiencing gender bias in the workplace.

The survey also found that women specifically want mentors, role models and strong networking opportunities. However, at the top of the list of barriers for women in the ISACA survey were limited networking opportunities and a lack of a strong professional network.

Globally, pay disparity remains a challenge, with 25% of respondents from Africa, 29% from Asia, 53% from Europe, 48% from Latin America, 60% from the Middle East, 42% from North America and 80% from Oceania reporting that male colleagues tend to be paid more, without a clear reason.

“As an industry, we must commit to changing these numbers and breaking down the barriers for women in technology,” said Tara Wisniewski, ISACA’s managing director of advocacy and public affairs. “It is well past time to address these issues, and ISACA has a responsibility to help solve them.”

ISACA already runs the Connecting Women Leaders in Technology program, which began in 2015 and is designed to connect women in the technology industry.

In 2017 it will feature several other educational opportunities related to its Connecting Women Leaders in Technology program, including a Women in Technology webinar series. The next webinar is scheduled for 18 May.

Women in technology programs will also take place at ISACA’s North America CACS conference in Las Vegas from 1–3 May, as well as at the EuroCACS conference in Munich from 29–31 May.

The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers study was conducted via online polling among ISACA’s female members worldwide. More than 500 individuals participated in the survey, which was fielded in November 2016.

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