[LINK] Women opting out of Australian IT industry
Wed, 21 Jun 2000 09:27:44 +1000
Women opting out of Australian IT industry
By Megan McAuliffe, ZDNet Australia News
20 Jne 2000
Many women are dropping out of IT degrees after completing just one year of
study according to an educator at the Australian National University.
Despite efforts to keep female students in the industry, "we're not
churning out females in computer programming," Education Officer for Women
in IT at the ANU Denise Bett said.
Although women are enrolling in IT courses, they are dropping out at the
same pace, Bett has observed, although she cannot explain why this might
be. Bett said that women are generally moving away from the hard core areas
of computing into the business side of the IT industry, such as e-commerce.
Despite an abundance of career opportunities in IT, less than 20 percent of
enrolments in undergraduate computing courses are female, according to a
Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs report released in
There was a much larger number of female's doing computing science in the
1970s according to Bett, "but that has been falling steadily on a global
scale. I am aware of a gender imbalance in student numbers here at the
University. But that's not just at the ANU but across the whole tertiary
Drop-outs aside, Australian universities face a problem in "getting women
to enrol in the first place," said Glenda Maddern, Computing Science
Administration Officer at the Queensland University of Technology. "We have
to actively campaign for female students." However, Maddern has not seen an
inordinate number of female drop-outs. "Recruitment levels are low, once we
get them we don't lose them, we go out of our way to retain them," she
The Australian National University currently holds annual workshops
targeting girls in Years 10, 11 and 12 to "demystify and explain to them in
clear terms what kinds of jobs there are in the industry," Bett said.
"We're looking for online mentors. We've approached female role models in
IT to talk at the workshops."
If women are to do the same work as men,
we must teach them the same things.