​The Gender Gap

Women in ICT and the national research and education networking community


Despite the fact that women comprise half the world’s population and a significant proportion of the professional workforce, they are considerably under-represented in the technology and computing sector, particularly in technical and decision-making positions.


This is widely recognised; dozens of ambitious initiatives, regional and national organisations, task forces, academics and working groups are studying the issues behind this problem and fuelling the search for creative solutions that will usher in an age of true gender diversity and equality.


The motives behind these efforts go deeper than the need for equal opportunities and treatment. Research shows that diversity benefits organisations in terms of productivity, profitability, creativity and innovation. A lot more work needs to be done to achieve true equality and reap these benefits.


Indeed, the EC's “Women active in the ICT sector” report purports that the lack of women in ICT roles is costing the European economy €9bn in lost revenue. It found that only 3% of women have a degree in ICT subjects compared with 9% of men; and that women struggle to reach the top roles in the sector with 19% of ICT workers having a female boss compared with 45% of non-ICT workers.


So how is the research and education networking community doing when it comes to gender diversity?

While at first glance, it may appear that the NREN community, which is closely tied to academia and government, enjoys a greater diversity compared with the private sector, the facts presented in a number of sessions at TNC ‘15 painted a different picture.


Ann Harding, head of GÉANT project’s Trust and Identity services and a member of the AAI team at SWITCH, the Swiss NREN, spearheaded community efforts on this issue in a lightning talk, calling on all to join the effort toward change and creative solutions.


Read the full article in CONNECT #20.


This article appeared in CONNECT Issue #20, October 2015.


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