11 Woman in technologyThere is much discussion about women in technology — or the lack of women in technology.  Currently women make up 47% of the labor market; however, women make up only 25% of all technology jobs. In big tech companies, such as Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, women make up only 20-23% of technology jobs. There are several reasons why this might be and the issue can be addressed.

The Women Tech Council, a national organization for women in technology of which I am a member, published a study in May of 2019 explaining the issues currently facing this employment gap and offered some solutions to help get more women involved in technology. It seems that the gap begins in high school and college. Although women are outpacing their counterparts in obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees, only about 33% of women are pursing technology once they leave high school. After graduation, the gap widens. Only 38% of those women who graduate go on to pursue a technology career, as compared to over 58% of their male counterparts with the same technology degree. And once in their field, attrition rates for women in technology is 30% higher than nontechnology jobs.

What might a company do to try to recruit and retain more women in technology? WTC finds that companies with more women in senior management positions promote a workplace that is inclusive for all women, including technology. The corporate culture — especially in technology companies — has a tremendous effect on the retention of its workforce. The more inclusive the environment, the higher employee retention. Therefore, recruiting more women into the company in general is necessary. Secondly, providing support and resources to those recruits to lead and guide them into leadership positions is recommended. Lastly, allowing those senior managers to create an inclusive culture is necessary.

How might we inspire more girls and women into technology at a younger age? We now understand that we first have to inspire women into the technology field at a younger age to increase the number of women who study technology in college. At Fayetteville Technical Community College , we take this challenge seriously, and in 2019, a committee was formed to address recruitment of women into our technology programs. This committee hosted several “Women in Technology” seminars that included guest speakers from local companies. These women discussed their jobs and careers and answered questions from the audience at the end of their presentations. We also hosted a live webinar given by CISCO Systems (Women Rock IT) that featured two women in the technology field. These seminars have helped increase our female enrollment by 10% for the 2019-2020 academic year.  Also, the Systems Security and Analysis department is working with middle and high schools to promote technology and cyber security fields. On Feb. 21, we held our annual Cyber Girls Days — a partnership with Cumberland County Schools — to have middle school girls spend the morning with our faculty in hands-on workshops where various cyber tools and fields available were explained. Our department at FTCC is also partnering with Terry Sandford High School to host a CyberPatriot Summer Camp during the week of June 8-12.  We continue to work to bridge the gap, but at FTCC, we actively support women in technology and encourage women to pursue this exciting field. Learn more about the many academic options available in the field of Computer Technology at FTCC by visiting faytechcc.edu or contact me at woodd@faytechcc.edu. ;

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