interaction design groups for women?

28 Jan 2008 - 8:07pm
6 years ago
19 replies
1156 reads
Wendy Fischer
2004

anybody know of any specific targeted industry groups for women in software design? I'm looking for something in the bay area.

-Wendy

Comments

30 Jan 2008 - 12:03pm
k lenox
2006

Hi Wendy,

This is a great question. I'm amazed it has sat for a day without a
reply from anyone.

I have been looking for an industry design group for women ever since
Women in Multimedia was around back in the 90's. From what I can
tell, it sadly disappeared in early 2001. Having been the sole female
designer at design studios in the past (where the only other women in
the office were administrative staff), I understand why you might be
interested in finding a women-specific design group.

The closest thing to women in IxD-specific design that I know of are:
http://owa-usa.org/
http://www.awidweb.com/
http://girlsgonegeek.tv/
http://shesgeeky.org/
http://www.blogher.com/

http://www.awidweb.com/pages/west.html - Bay Area group.

Is anyone else aware of women's IxD or software design groups? And
specifically in the Bay Area?

I am fortunate enough to work for Adaptive Path, a company in the Bay
Area where the staff is over 50% women!! The current design staff is
equally divided men and women too. We have a wonderful work
environment where gender is not an issue whatsoever. Maybe we can
have you over for lunch sometime to give you the opportunity to hang
with some amazing women (and men) in the industry? Email me directly
at k_lenox AT mac dot com if you're interested.

Also I am one of the co-chairs of IxDA-SF. We're always open to
hearing ideas for future events in SF (are there women in the
industry you want to hear speak?). Our latest event is Indi Young
speaking about her upcoming book:
http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/417667

Good luck & please post again if you find a group that works for you.

-Kim

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25244

30 Jan 2008 - 1:04pm
Michele Marut
2005

*Kim Lenox* k_lenox at mac.com
<discuss%40lists.interactiondesigners.com?Subject=%5BIxDA%20Discuss%5D%20interaction%20design%20groups%20for%20women%3F&In-Reply-To=286180.31580.qm%40web36905.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
*Wed Jan 30 09:03:09 PST 2008*

"Is anyone else aware of women's IxD or software design groups? And
specifically in the Bay Area?"

Webgrrls, a national group, is active in some parts of California - but
currently not the bay area.

http://www.webgrrls.com/about/

- Michele Marut

30 Jan 2008 - 1:22pm
Anonymous

OK - maybe I am missing something here. A women only group design group?
Is design gender specific? What would be the need / benefit of such a
group?

Also, to wit, would you be offended if there were a men only group?

Cheers.

On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 09:03:09, Kim Lenox <k_lenox at mac.com> wrote:

> Hi Wendy,
>
> This is a great question. I'm amazed it has sat for a day without a
> reply from anyone.
>
> I have been looking for an industry design group for women ever since
> Women in Multimedia was around back in the 90's. From what I can
> tell, it sadly disappeared in early 2001. Having been the sole female
> designer at design studios in the past (where the only other women in
> the office were administrative staff), I understand why you might be
> interested in finding a women-specific design group.
>
> The closest thing to women in IxD-specific design that I know of are:
> http://owa-usa.org/
> http://www.awidweb.com/
> http://girlsgonegeek.tv/
> http://shesgeeky.org/
> http://www.blogher.com/
>
> http://www.awidweb.com/pages/west.html - Bay Area group.
>
> Is anyone else aware of women's IxD or software design groups? And
> specifically in the Bay Area?
>
> I am fortunate enough to work for Adaptive Path, a company in the Bay
> Area where the staff is over 50% women!! The current design staff is
> equally divided men and women too. We have a wonderful work
> environment where gender is not an issue whatsoever. Maybe we can
> have you over for lunch sometime to give you the opportunity to hang
> with some amazing women (and men) in the industry? Email me directly
> at k_lenox AT mac dot com if you're interested.
>
> Also I am one of the co-chairs of IxDA-SF. We're always open to
> hearing ideas for future events in SF (are there women in the
> industry you want to hear speak?). Our latest event is Indi Young
> speaking about her upcoming book:
> http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/417667
>
> Good luck & please post again if you find a group that works for you.
>
> -Kim
>
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25244
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Jan 2008 - 2:01pm
Jeff Seager
2007

bq. Is design gender specific? What would be the need / benefit of
such a group?

My first thought, as well, Mike. But you know, guys can be so ...
boorish, sometimes. All that testosterone and bravado and belching
and flamewarmongering we do all the time.

Just kidding, Wendy and Kim. Y'all can segregate however you like,
just as the Old Boys Clubs have been doing for centuries. I see no
reason to believe we've actually gotten past all that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25244

30 Jan 2008 - 2:01pm
Jeff Seager
2007

bq. Is design gender specific? What would be the need / benefit of
such a group?

My first thought, as well, Mike. But you know, guys can be so ...
boorish, sometimes. All that testosterone and bravado and belching
and flamewarmongering we do all the time.

Just kidding, Wendy and Kim. Y'all can segregate however you like,
just as the Old Boys Clubs have been doing for centuries. I see no
reason to believe we've actually gotten past all that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25244

30 Jan 2008 - 2:07pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Mike,
Huh? This is a professional organization. Where women are vastly
underrepresented and face challenges that men do not as an
underrepresented group. It totally makes sense for women, people of
color, non-USers, and other underrepresented folks to try and
congregate amongst themselves for support and to talk about issues
both relevant broadly outside that group, but maybe specific to it.

Haven't we moved past this by now?

Wendy, great question. I hope that any group of people who feels that
they need a space of their own, can find a way to do that in IxDA, or
be able to use IxDA to create something meaningful elsewhere.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25244

30 Jan 2008 - 2:32pm
Anonymous

Again, I have no real issue with it, but I just don't get it.

On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 11:01:53, Jeff Seager <abrojos at hotmail.com> wrote:

> bq. Is design gender specific? What would be the need / benefit of
> such a group?
>
> My first thought, as well, Mike. But you know, guys can be so ...
> boorish, sometimes. All that testosterone and bravado and belching
> and flamewarmongering we do all the time.
>
> Just kidding, Wendy and Kim. Y'all can segregate however you like,
> just as the Old Boys Clubs have been doing for centuries. I see no
> reason to believe we've actually gotten past all that.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25244
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Jan 2008 - 2:42pm
Meredith Noble
2010

> Huh? This is a professional organization. Where women are vastly
> underrepresented and face challenges that men do not as an
> underrepresented group. It totally makes sense for women, people of

Just out of curiosity, are there any recent stats out there about the
number of women vs. the number of men in our field?

My sense is that in the formal HCI world, which has been historically
rooted in computer science faculties, men tend to dominate. Outside the
academic HCI world and in the user experience industry, however, I have
felt a greater sense of balance between the sexes. That might have to do
with the fact that my firm is composed of 7 female IAs and 1 male IA,
however. ;)

Would love to hear some stats if people have them, as I get asked this
question all the time and Dave's comment makes me worry I'm giving the
wrong answer!

Meredith

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Meredith Noble
Information Architect, Usability Matters Inc.
416.598.7770 x6
meredith at usabilitymatters.com
http://www.usabilitymatters.com

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

30 Jan 2008 - 2:55pm
dmitryn
2004

The most recent IA Institute salary survey, which was publicized on this
list, is probably the closest thing:

http://iainstitute.org/en/learn/research/salary_survey_2007.php

According to the survey summary,

"The gender split is almost equal, with 49% female to 51% male. Also, female
IAs on average make more than males (US$87,500 versus US$85,300)."

So perhaps professional sub-groups for both genders are equally needed. :)

Dmitry

On Jan 30, 2008 11:42 AM, Meredith Noble <meredith at usabilitymatters.com>
wrote:

> > Huh? This is a professional organization. Where women are vastly
> > underrepresented and face challenges that men do not as an
> > underrepresented group. It totally makes sense for women, people of
>
> Just out of curiosity, are there any recent stats out there about the
> number of women vs. the number of men in our field?
>
>

30 Jan 2008 - 3:03pm
k lenox
2006

Thanks Dave, you've summed it up well.

Mike, I'd be happy to share with you my battle scars of working as a
women in the software development industry. A sample ... job
interviews a few years back: Monday, 4 hour interview with 5 men,
entire studio of 11 was all men except for the women who got me
coffee, I think she also answered phones. Tuesday, different company,
met by male recruiter, escorted into conference room full of 7 men.
Interview lasted 3 hrs. So from my perspective, it IS a male-only
club and I and my female peers are inviting ourselves to the table.

BTW, I took the job at the 11 person studio. After 6 months we had
hired a female researcher, visual designer and interaction designer.
All extremely talented and well versed in the industry.

Gender balance in design and software development offices is a
concern I continue to hear, and honestly it usually comes from men
who are asking "Where are all the women in the industry? and how can
we balance out our office a bit?"

Women's professional organizations usually focus on education,
advocacy and mentorships to get girls to choose the careers they
want, not the ones that are "typically female" (That's what Women in
Multimedia did). Peers also help with finding companies that are not
sexist.

I have to say that being a working woman has gotten better since the
1980's when I landed my first job in a male-dominated industry. It's
gotten better because of men like Dave, Jeff and my peers at AP (and
honestly virtually all men I've met in the Bay Area as well). Respect
and equality has come a long way, but there's still work to be done.
And that's why Wendy and myself would like to find other women
designers to talk to. It's that simple.

-Kim
PS - Just saw the note about IA's ... I've noticed that IA's are more
often than not women, and it looks like the stats show it's pretty
equal. I'd love to know the stats on software design, engineering and
industrial design. When I was at Samsung, they were proud to say they
had 27% female designers when I started. 3 years later, they had 33%.

30 Jan 2008 - 3:04pm
Dave Malouf
2005

But the same report showed a vast separation once you get into management
and upper management.
Also, lets remember that we are not all IAs, AND! the term
"underrepresented" is not really a term about statistics but is a euphemism
trying to deal with the realities that -isms (pick yours: sexism, racism,
antisemitism, homophobia [not literally an "ism"], etc.) still exist.

-- dave

On Jan 30, 2008 2:55 PM, Dmitry Nekrasovski <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:

> The most recent IA Institute salary survey, which was publicized on this
> list, is probably the closest thing:
>
> http://iainstitute.org/en/learn/research/salary_survey_2007.php
>
> According to the survey summary,
>
> "The gender split is almost equal, with 49% female to 51% male. Also,
> female IAs on average make more than males (US$87,500 versus US$85,300)."
>
> So perhaps professional sub-groups for both genders are equally needed. :)
>
> Dmitry
>
>
> On Jan 30, 2008 11:42 AM, Meredith Noble <meredith at usabilitymatters.com>
> wrote:
>
> > > Huh? This is a professional organization. Where women are vastly
> > > underrepresented and face challenges that men do not as an
> > > underrepresented group. It totally makes sense for women, people of
> >
> > Just out of curiosity, are there any recent stats out there about the
> > number of women vs. the number of men in our field?
> >
> >
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

30 Jan 2008 - 3:17pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 30, 2008, at 11:42 AM, Meredith Noble wrote:

> Would love to hear some stats if people have them, as I get asked this
> question all the time and Dave's comment makes me worry I'm giving the
> wrong answer!

When I was running the design team at Adobe, I had ~66% women on the
team to ~33% men, out of a 16 to 24 person team. My sense is that
today that ratio is still pretty strong at Adobe, but someone on the
team today would have to answer that. My experiences have been that
women are more strongly represented in the field if you approach the
field from a non-HCI perspective, including more traditional design
backgrounds as prerequisites. If hiring for the job from an HCI and
CompSci approach, it does seem to yield more men, except when you
include Asian countries, where women are becoming more strongly
represented in those fields.

Just anecdotal data I know. And please take it with a large grain of
salt.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

30 Jan 2008 - 3:25pm
dmitryn
2004

You're absolutely right, Dave. My point was simply to refer the list to the
most recent data available, which shows that gender equality progress is
being made in the broader field of UX (at least at the non-management
level).

As for definitions, since we are still unable to collectively define
"interaction design" on this list, perhaps it would be wise to steer away
from attempting to define "underrepresented". :)

Dmitry

On Jan 30, 2008 12:04 PM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> But the same report showed a vast separation once you get into management
> and upper management.
> Also, lets remember that we are not all IAs, AND! the term
> "underrepresented" is not really a term about statistics but is a
> euphemism
> trying to deal with the realities that -isms (pick yours: sexism, racism,
> antisemitism, homophobia [not literally an "ism"], etc.) still exist.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On Jan 30, 2008 2:55 PM, Dmitry Nekrasovski <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > The most recent IA Institute salary survey, which was publicized on this
> > list, is probably the closest thing:
> >
> > http://iainstitute.org/en/learn/research/salary_survey_2007.php
> >
> > According to the survey summary,
> >
> > "The gender split is almost equal, with 49% female to 51% male. Also,
> > female IAs on average make more than males (US$87,500 versus
> US$85,300)."
> >
> > So perhaps professional sub-groups for both genders are equally needed.
> :)
> >
> > Dmitry
> >
> >
> > On Jan 30, 2008 11:42 AM, Meredith Noble <meredith at usabilitymatters.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > > Huh? This is a professional organization. Where women are vastly
> > > > underrepresented and face challenges that men do not as an
> > > > underrepresented group. It totally makes sense for women, people of
> > >
> > > Just out of curiosity, are there any recent stats out there about the
> > > number of women vs. the number of men in our field?
> > >
> > >
> >
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Jan 2008 - 3:29pm
SemanticWill
2007

The company that I was the UX A for 2.5 years may have not been the norm -
but in the software engineering group - 55-60 people, the breakdown was
something like this
55% women
45% men

Tech leads
3 men, 2 women

Ethnicity:
35% White (Euro ancestry - including eastern European Jewish and Russian
backgrounds)
20% Chinese
25-30% Indian
5% African American
5-10% Other Asian, Middle Eastern

On Jan 30, 2008 3:17 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk <andrei at involutionstudios.com>
wrote:

>
> On Jan 30, 2008, at 11:42 AM, Meredith Noble wrote:
>
> > Would love to hear some stats if people have them, as I get asked this
> > question all the time and Dave's comment makes me worry I'm giving the
> > wrong answer!
>
> When I was running the design team at Adobe, I had ~66% women on the
> team to ~33% men, out of a 16 to 24 person team. My sense is that
> today that ratio is still pretty strong at Adobe, but someone on the
> team today would have to answer that. My experiences have been that
> women are more strongly represented in the field if you approach the
> field from a non-HCI perspective, including more traditional design
> backgrounds as prerequisites. If hiring for the job from an HCI and
> CompSci approach, it does seem to yield more men, except when you
> include Asian countries, where women are becoming more strongly
> represented in those fields.
>
> Just anecdotal data I know. And please take it with a large grain of
> salt.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

30 Jan 2008 - 2:47pm
stephanie walker
2008

>From the recent IAI salary survey:
http://iainstitute.org/news/000693.php

"

We found the gender split to be almost equal: 49% female to 51% male. Also,
female IAs on average make slightly more than males (US$87,500 versus
US$85,300). Looking closer, we found more males in both the Under US$20,000
and Over US$150,000 categories. Removing the upper and lower categories from
the calculation, women still held a lead in salary earned; however, in
neither case was the difference statistically significant. The modal
response for both genders was US$100,000-US$109,999.

Still, men outnumber women nearly 2 to 1 in the Over $150,000 group. We
ruled out an industry glass ceiling effect by isolating respondents with
Chief, Lead, Director, President, Vice President or Principal in their
titles. While there were 14 more males in these positions (just 2.4% of the
survey population), women in this group as a whole still earned more.

So why are there more men making over $150K if titles are more or less
equal? The answer could be education. Men earning more than $150K were more
likely to have a masters or doctorate degree. Men also were more likely to
hold the Principal/President role, indicating that entrepreneurialism could
be a factor. Of respondents whose titles were President or Principal, eight
were men and only 3 were women. For next year, it will be interesting to
know the academic areas the higher degrees represent, and how many people in
these higher positions are running their own shops."

-Stephanie Walker

On Jan 30, 2008 1:42 PM, Meredith Noble <meredith at usabilitymatters.com>
wrote:

> > Huh? This is a professional organization. Where women are vastly
> > underrepresented and face challenges that men do not as an
> > underrepresented group. It totally makes sense for women, people of
>
> Just out of curiosity, are there any recent stats out there about the
> number of women vs. the number of men in our field?
>
> My sense is that in the formal HCI world, which has been historically
> rooted in computer science faculties, men tend to dominate. Outside the
> academic HCI world and in the user experience industry, however, I have
> felt a greater sense of balance between the sexes. That might have to do
> with the fact that my firm is composed of 7 female IAs and 1 male IA,
> however. ;)
>
> Would love to hear some stats if people have them, as I get asked this
> question all the time and Dave's comment makes me worry I'm giving the
> wrong answer!
>
> Meredith
>
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>
> Meredith Noble
> Information Architect, Usability Matters Inc.
> 416.598.7770 x6
> meredith at usabilitymatters.com
> http://www.usabilitymatters.com
>
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

30 Jan 2008 - 5:39pm
Luis de la Orde...
2007

"While there were 14 more males in these positions (just 2.4% of the
survey population), women in this group as a whole still earned more."

--------------

Already added to the list:

1. HCI Masters
2. Sex change operation
3. HCI PhD

I am happy to hear this, although not surprised. I wish to know how the
women around South America, Asia, Middle East and Africa fare in these
studies.

Cheers,

Luis

30 Jan 2008 - 9:07pm
Jennifer Berk
2007

One more potentially useful survey:
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/2007surveyresults

Pulling all the people who say they're competent at interface design
(a separate item from graphic design) might be a reasonable proxy for
interaction designers.

Jennifer Berk

On Jan 30, 2008 2:55 PM, Dmitry Nekrasovski <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
> The most recent IA Institute salary survey, which was publicized on this
> list, is probably the closest thing:
>
> http://iainstitute.org/en/learn/research/salary_survey_2007.php
>
> According to the survey summary,
>
> "The gender split is almost equal, with 49% female to 51% male. Also, female
> IAs on average make more than males (US$87,500 versus US$85,300)."
>
> So perhaps professional sub-groups for both genders are equally needed. :)
>
> Dmitry

30 Jan 2008 - 10:00pm
k lenox
2006

I just noticed we've had nearly equal replies of women and men to
this post. ;-)

I pulled a few stats from the survey Jennifer mentioned http://
www.alistapart.com/articles/2007surveyresults

It was responded by:82.8% Male, 16.1% Female, 1.1% No answer, 84.6%
White

Page 30 shows the gender breakdown by title. Overall was 16.3% female
and 83.7% male. The survey calls out the following stats:
• Women make up significantly greater percentages of the information
architects (22.8%), usability experts (24.7%), web producers (24.5%),
and writers/editors (41.6%) than they do of other titles.
• Women comprise significantly lesser percentages of developers
(7.2%) and web directors (12.6%).
• Women comprise slightly lesser percentages of creative directors
(14.3%) and interface designers (14.5%).

Page 41 identifies gender stats by organization, salary range by
gender (fewer women making the higher-end salaries and more women
earning the lower-end salaries).

Hard to say whether this accurately represents the community since
it's self-reporting.

30 Jan 2008 - 11:58pm
White, Jeff
2007

ACM technews seems to have frequent stories about the gender gap in IT
in general. Just from memory, many headlines deal with the issue of
less and less women entering into computer science and related tech
fields at the college level. The most recent issue has an article
about the gender salary gap in IT, and a quick scan of the archive
found the article below, which is about mothers returning to the
workforce. But I know there are frequent articles about the gender gap
in general, I'd suggest looking through this if anyone wants to dig
for more info. Might be more general IT than UX, but still worth a
look:

ACM technews:
http://technews.acm.org/

Link to full article (snip below):
http://www.cioinsight.com/c/a/Trends/Getting-Women-Back-Into-IT/

Getting Women Back Into IT
CIO Insight (12/03/07) Perelman, Deborah

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates
that 28 percent of mothers in the United States with children under
the age of 18 do not work. Much research has been conducted on mothers
who leave the workforce to raise children, but little research has
been done on women who try to re-enter the workforce. In an industry
such as IT, where there is intense pressure to update and maintain
skills, trying to re-enter the workforce can be quite challenging and
intimidating. Chicago-based software consultancy ThoughtWorks has
launched a four-week training class for women looking to get back into
IT. The re-training class will focus on updating women's programming
skills and could possibly lead to a job offer. "Someone who has been
out for 10 years is going to have rusty programming skills, so we are
going to teach them the basics of Java and other fundamentals the
first two weeks," says ThoughtWorks' Jackie Kinsey. Through ads and
word-of-mouth, 60 women have expressed interest in the class, 12 of
which will be in the first pilot class in Britain. However, not all of
the women interested in the program left to have children, with about
30 percent of the group leaving IT for other reasons. "A couple women
said they'd had bad experiences in organizations and had left IT
disillusioned," Kinsey says. "We found that there is a definite gap in
the market in training for women who have left the job market."

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