Researchers take fresh look at lack of women in IT

Baylor, Florida State researchers put forth updated model

Researchers at Baylor University and Florida State University say the IT industry has relied on outdated thinking about how to get more women into the profession and have put forth a new model to consider.

Despite efforts to encourage more women to join the field and rise through the ranks, studies show that women represented just 18% of those graduating with computer and information science degrees in 2011 vs. 37% in 1985.

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The older model used to address falling female participation in IT focused on issues such as work-family balance and organizational structures.

The new model, outlined in a paper titled "The Barriers Facing Women in the Information Technology Profession: An Exploratory Investigation of Ahuja's Model," recommends changes such as having women in IT go outside the workplace to seek female mentors, allowing for co-ed workplace sports teams and extra-curricular team-building activities, and understanding the needs of employees at various career and life stages, such as dealing with aging parents. The researchers tested their assumptions about the older model by surveying IT professionals from a Fortune 500 company over three years.

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