13 February 2010

ICT Stereotypes - Are they keeping people (mostly girls) away?

This is a bit of a different track for me. My husband recently started the new school year. He is an ICT teacher at a local school for Year 11 and 12. There is a very slim turnout of girls for ICT courses and he is wondering how to attract more girls into the program?

I did a bit of asking around and one of the more popular opinions I got back was that a more social or personal relationships focus around ICT may encourage attendance. I came across the Digital Divas program, which offers a single sex program for Year 8 ICT to encourage girls participation.

I also found this European Schoolnet summary of a white paper from Cisco looking at Women in ICT. Where there was an observation that there was a poor understanding of the types of job roles and opportunities that exist.

To provide some insight into ICT roles Education Queensland published Female ICT Role Models, providing biographies and role insights for female members of the ICT community and the Education Technology Debate posted Female ICT Role Models, on TV and Youtube looking at the potential impact of these media to encourage participation in ICT.

Personally, I did not originally pursue a role in ICT, in fact I consciously avoided it. My perception of ICT careers was of programmers and did not include roles like business analysts, IT architects, project managers ...etc. I know many people who have found careers in IT more by accident, normally through being involved in a project as the business subject matter expert and then staying in the field. Is the ICT industry losing out because of people's perceptions?

Here is a video trying to change the perception of ICT

Maybe the change in perception will increase enrolment from both genders. What do you think?

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