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Women Meet Challenges, Savor Successes in the IT Field

Women IT
 

Women have entered and advanced the ranks in the IT sector for several decades. As the industry has gained prominence and grown in size, more women have chosen tech jobs. But IT hasn’t yet reached a point where women are ubiquitous. More often than not, a woman finds she’s the only female on a team or project.

Those who have made a career in IT—whether for a few years or many—take pride in their accomplishments and contributions in advancing hardware, software, programming and other activities. Twelve of these women are profiled later in this article.

It takes guts, tenacity and an inquiring mind to excel in IT. Women, such as IBM’s CEO, Virginia Rometty, have those qualities in abundance. Rometty has grappled with many of the same issues that face women entering the IT field today.

Her visibility in the IT industry encourages women to take a seat at the technology table. It’s up to companies to ensure those seats are available. But they are still hard to find. A 2015 LeanIn.Org and McKinsey “Women in the Workplace” study found that women account for 32.4 percent of entry-level line employees at tech companies—those who contribute to products or core functions—and just 26.2 percent of line managers.

Even fewer women have made it to the top of tech companies. Women with line responsibilities comprise 17 percent of senior vice presidents and 9.4 percent of senior executives at tech companies, the study found.

“When you find yourself working in an environment that doesn’t allow you to realize your potential, realize the situation is only temporary and visualize where you want to be.”
—Lisa Bock, assistant professor, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Women often say their gender hinders them in IT careers, as reported in “What’s Holding Back Women in Tech” (on.wsj.com/1RwF9Sz). Of the female tech employees surveyed, 29.9 percent said their gender would be a factor in missing a raise or promotion and 37.1 percent said their gender would be a disadvantage in the future. Women in nontech fields felt less constrained by gender factors, the study found.

The 12 women profiled throughout these pages understand the challenges they face in IT but are successfully meeting them head on.

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at savage.shirley@comcast.net.



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