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The IT Crowd

The IT industry has long been a boys club, with women making up only 18% of the industry in 2013. Many believe that this club starts long before anyone even enters the workforce, with less girls choosing to study courses that could lead to an IT career.

CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer explains that this could be due to gender stereotypes that have been instilled since childhood – that men are technical and women are emotional.

“It wasn’t until I was a professional woman mentoring other girls…that I learned that openly liking maths and science is unusual for girls. It’s actually considered far too nerdy and far too much for the boys.”

Others view the industry as having very little appeal for women because they only ever see men succeed in it. It’s a vicious cycle because boys clubs are not going to attract ambitious talented women who think they will get trapped under glass ceilings.

However, there are some strong women paving the way within the IT industry. Last year in particular saw a boom in women being promoted to senior management positions and the results are of resounding success.

In 2012 Sheryl Sandberg was the first female to serve on the board of Facebook and in only one short year was promoted to COO. Number 9 on Forbes’s Most Powerful Women, Sandberg worked her way up through Google before joining the social media giant. She is a strong advocate for equality in the workplace, writing a book to mentor ambitious women, and has recently pledged half of her net worth to charity- some $1 billion.

Another woman creating buzz in IT is the newly appointed CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer. Beginning her career as Google’s first female engineer, Mayer announced her new role at Yahoo at the same time as her pregnancy. Many saw this as a bold statement about a woman who could have it all but Mayer says that she never intended this and is in fact blind to gender. Since her appointment she has made gutsy acquisitions and share prices have soared.

In 1998 Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up office in Susan Wojcicki’s garage. During her time with the company the mother of four led the development of now everyday necessities Google Images and Google Books. As of this year she is the CEO of Youtube and touted as ‘the most important woman in advertising’.

Other recent moves include Angela Ahrendts promoted to SVP (Senior Vice President) of retail for Apple, Amy Hood promoted to CFO at Microsoft and Ruchi Sanghvi who was the first female engineer at Facebook and recently sold her million-dollar software company Dropbox.

There is still a long way to go for equality within the IT industry but seeing strong women like these in leadership positions will hopefully inspire others to take on the boys club and have their share of success in a thriving industry that is shaping the world around us.

 

Image credit: Marissa Mayer, photographed by Norman Jean Roy for Vogue 2009.

 

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