Few women find role models in IT

Our article on “Women’s Experience of Role Models in IT” is now published.

Relevant role models are individuals that we can identify with. Our study among women in IT in Norway shows that:

Rolemodels wcMost women identify relevant role models among other women, rather than among men.

Few women identify role models in in fields of information technology.

Many women missed having female role models in IT.

And many found “substitute” role models from other fields, national politics or among networks of female friends.

Female role models are, as one of the women we interviewed said,

“important as a door opener. […] I think that makes things easier. It is not necessary, but it makes things easier.”

You can read the full paper (open access) here, where we present a model of responses reflecting a lack of female role models in IT:  https://www.idunn.no/modeller/18_womens_experience_of_role_models_in_it_landmark_women

Corneliussen, H. G., Seddighi, G., & Dralega, C. A. (2019). Women’s Experience of Role Models in IT: Landmark women, substitutes, and supporters. In Ø. Helgesen, E. Nesset, G. Mustafa, P. Rice, & R. Glavee-Geo (Eds.), Modeller: Universitetsforlaget. DOI: 10.18261/9788215034393-2019-18.

First and second education – routes to IT competence for women

two women smiling to each other
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

In our study of women working in technology-driven careers, primarily with IT and digitalization, we have interviewed almost 40 women in Norway. One of our findings show that many women come to work with IT and digitalization via a detour: many of them started with a “gender traditional” education, in humanities, social sciences or healthcare, but then at a later stage changed to IT, or added IT courses to their education. Our findings suggest that this “detour” is related to how girls’ choices and the advices that the young women get from parents, teachers etc., are still to a certain degree guided by gendered stereotypes and seeing IT as a male dominated field. However, when women at a later stage have to relate to IT in working life, also in traditional female dominated fields like health care, they change their view upon IT and what IT represent.

To draw some conclusions from this, first, it is important that girls are introduced early to the wide and varied meanings of IT and digitalization in current working life. Perhaps more girls will choose IT education and find IT related work attractive when it appears in pair with other fields, like ehealth, like we see among the women we have interviewed.

Our study also suggests that continuing education can be an important contribution in providing women with a competence that they to a lesser degree than men acquire through their first educational choices, as women are still a minority among IT students in Norway.

Seminar on Gender Equality in Research and Innovation, 18 Sept 2019

The Nordic countries are often regarded as already gender equal. However, in comparison to gender equality in European research and innovation, we are falling behind. A lack of equality means a loss of resources and diversity in research and innovation. Accordingly, new ways of promoting gender equality are needed in Finland, as well as collaboration between local, national and multi-national actors.

In collaboration with the Council for Gender Equality (TANE), NORDWIT is arranging a seminar on 18 September 2019 in Helsinki on this topic.
Join us in discussing how we can collaborate to promote gender equality in research and innovation!

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We will hear from both researchers and research and innovation policymakers at the seminar. There will be addresses from national financiers of innovation from both Finland and Sweden, as well as a European perspective and a panel discussing the subject on a regional level.

For more information about the seminar, its programme and registration, please visit the website: https://events.tuni.fi/gender-equality-seminar-18092019-eng/



Perspectives, reflections, and insights about women and digital work by women in digital work

By Bridgette Wessels

Glasgow Social and Digital Change Group – Women in Digital Work seminar

Current trends such as robotics and autonomous systems and AI deepen the pervasive and ubiquitous presence of the digital in social and work relations.  Although these changes are uneven and are developing in different ways they raise new questions about work as well as asking us to return to older questions and issues.  Gender and technology is one area in which digitalisation relates to how women work, where they work, what they do and how their work is valued.  Questions about how women experience, adapt to, have the power to shape work remain important in the negotiation of new types of work as well as some of the more established types of work. During periods of social and technological shifts, there is often a struggle between continuity and change, adaptation and resistance, hope and despair.  A roundtable event held by the Glasgow Social and Digital Change Group at the University of Glasgow on the 22nd of May 2019 sought to explore the experiences, struggles and negotiations of women currently undertaking digital work and to reflect on these to offer perspectives and insights into women in digital work.  The event was very well attended with not a spare seat in the room. Continue reading “Perspectives, reflections, and insights about women and digital work by women in digital work”