IT's vanishing women

The IT profession in many ways seems like a good fit for women, but the industry has a hard time attracting them and keeping those who do enter IT

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IT is a growing profession, and one that requires skills that women not only possess but oftentimes excel at. And yet women remain a distinct minority within the profession. Why is that, and how can it be changed?

Computing should be an attractive field of study for anyone. Nonetheless, although recent Bureau of Labor Statistics findings show that computing-related jobs are growing at a rate almost double that of all other fields, fewer students are enrolling in computing majors. That trend led the BLS a few years ago to project that by 2018 approximately half of all jobs requiring extensive computing expertise will go begging for lack of qualified IT professionals.

Sometimes, one crisis can resolve another. The looming shortage of IT professionals could spur an increase in the number of women in the profession and finally bring their participation rate in IT to levels consistent with other professions. The current disparity is striking. According to the BLS, in 2012, women held 57% of all professional occupations, but only 26% of professional computing occupations.

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