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...but IT industry needs more women
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Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:17 am Reply and quote this post
The European Commission (EC) is calling for more women to considercareers in the IT industry because the growth in the number of femalegraduates in relevant subjects continues to fall. But the US is seeingthe first signs of a turnaround in declining numbers of people studyingfor careers in IT.
At a conference in Brussels today, the EC will try and encourage young girls to get involved in the IT industry despite stereotypes that it is a male-only occupation.

It will also highlight the fact that the proportion of womengraduating in engineering or computer science remains very low. The EUsaid: "Although the number of engineering graduates increasedsignificantly across the EU-27 from 150,965 in 1998 to 320,950 in 2004,its yearly growth rate is decreasing exponentially from 60 per cent in1998 to 10 per cent in 2004."

EU Commissioner for information society and media Viviane Redingsaid in a statement: "We need to overcome common stereotypes whichdescribe ICT careers as boring and too technical for women, and insteadencourage women to succeed in this exciting, innovative andmulti-faceted sector".

She also expressed concern that the current shortage of about300,000 computer scientists and engineers in the EU's 27 member statescould impact competitiveness against other parts of the world,including emerging markets such as Asia.

Meanwhile in the US there are the first signs that falling numbersare starting to rise. Applications for computer science courses fellsharply after the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000. The number ofcomputing science majors increased for the first time in seven years,according to a survey from the Computing Research Association.

The IT industry currently contributes a quarter of the EU's total annual growth.

According to EC figures, only 19 per cent of engineering graduatesin Europe in 2004 were female. Austria, Portugal, and Poland have seena significant drop from 1998 to 2005 in female computer sciencegraduates.

The EC, which began a pilot scheme – dubbed the "shadowinginitiative" – two years ago to encourage more young women to tackle acareer in IT by accompanying a female senior manager during a typicalworking day, described the current shortfall as a "worrying" situation.

Reding will today extend the EC's plans to help fill the IT job holeby launching a "European Code of Best Practices for Women in ICT",which she hopes will also breakdown some of the stereotypes aboutworking in the industry.
The code is expected to be agreed by the IT sector by International Women's Day (8 March) next year.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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