Women in IT Still Fall Behind in Salaries

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According to a report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation, women may be pursuing more education, landing more employment and finding jobs at higher levels, but they are still landing “pink-collar” jobs, for the most part. 




The report, called “Women at Work,” showed that women have caught up with men in obtaining four-year degrees. They are also more likely to work in management and professional jobs now than they were two decades ago. Still, women are not prepared to move into higher-paid, fast-growing job roles like systems analysis, software design and engineering.




Mary Ellen Smyth, president of the AAUW Educational Foundation said the new high-tech economy is leaving women behind. “It’s not that women are hitting a glass ceiling in the high-tech sector,” she explained. “It’s that they don’t have the keys to open the door.”




The wage gap is still a problem as well. In CertMag’s most recent annual salary survey, only 8 percent of respondents were women, and women reported earning 3.25 percent less than their male counterparts. (See www.certmag.com/salaries). And according to Brainbench, “the virtual salary parity women had achieved in most wage categories in 2001 was strongly eroded in 2002 and continues to reflect that loss in 2003.” Only in large corporations have women been able to overcome the wage gap, Brainbench reports. 




The AAUW report shows that more women need to pursue advanced education in computer and IT fields, or the gender gap in these fields will grow wider. Jacqueline Woods, AAUW’s executive director, said that only 28 percent of women are studying in fields that will enable them to work in science, engineering or IT.




The AAUW report recommends increasing access and opportunities for education for women and girls in underrepresented racial-ethnic communities. It also suggests increased promotion of the benefits of an education in computer science, engineering, math and technology for women and girls.




For an overview of the AAUW report, visit http://www.aauw.org/research/index.cfm and go to “Women at Work.”

Emily Hollis is managing editor for Certification Magazine. She can be reached at ehollis@certmag.com.

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