Push Is on for More Women in IT

Downers Grove, Ill. — March 5

CompTIA, the nonprofit trade association for the information technology industry, recently announced the creation of a new member community aimed at expanding IT career opportunities for women — just in time to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Advancing Women in IT Community is aimed at empowering women with knowledge and skills necessary to help their pursuit of successful IT careers as well as inspiring women to make the IT field their career choice. The group is expected to serve as an information resource, provide mentorship and networking opportunities, develop member-driven initiatives and programs, and take an active role in legislation involving women and careers.

“Women have realized many breakthroughs in the workplace, but the truth is our progress has stalled in IT,” said Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president, industry relations, CompTIA.

She cited research by the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which showed female employment in the IT industry reached its high point in 1991, when women made up 36 percent of the industry’s workforce. Since then, the number of technology jobs held by women has been declining. Unconscious bias, gender pay gaps, feelings of isolation, lack of role models and mentors, poor supervisory relationships and competing life responsibilities are all contributing factors to the decline.

“As someone who has spent nearly my entire career in high-tech industry, I’m acutely aware of the gender gap,” Hammervik said. “CompTIA is committed to doing its part to raise awareness of the valuable role women can and do play in our industry and to effect change to bring more women into our ranks.”

The CompTIA Advancing Women in IT Community launches with members in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and South Africa. Members include women working in the IT industry, women seeking IT careers and men who support the mission of diversifying the IT workforce.

The community is led by chairman Sandy Ashworth, global director of channel relations and warranty for Unisys Corp., and vice chairman Jean Mork Bredeson, president, SERVICE 800 Inc.

“Our goal is not only to provide “how-to” knowledge, but also be the conduit and people resource to give women the mentoring, networking and career path guidance needed to advance in or join in the IT industry,” said Ashworth. “The community will identify and accomplish initiatives that will draw young women, women returning to workforce, women changing careers and women veterans to our industry. We also want to include women in IT from other industries, such as health care, finance and education. As the song says, ‘There is nothing like being a woman.’ My version of that is, ‘There is nothing like being a woman in IT.’”

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