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Girls turned off IT careers by lack of role models
Source: Warwick Ashford, 6 May 2008
Fewer girls than boys consider a career in technology because they do not see positive female role models in the industry, according to research in schools.A survey of 1,000 young people aged between 11 and 16 revealed that 28% of girls were considering a career in technology, compared with 52% of boys.
That is despite the fact that nearly 90% of girls said using technology was "cool" and 38% chat about the latest technology with their friends.
The research, commissioned by Blackberry maker Research in Motion,found that 73% of girls said they would not choose a career in technology because the UK IT industry lacks female role models.
Research in Motion said these factors had culminated in a serious shortage of women in technology even though Gartner research said women held the key to plugging the critical skills shortfall affecting the industry.
Charmaine Eggberry, vice-president of Research in Motion EMEA and creator of the Blackberry Women & Technology Awards said there was a lack of understanding about the opportunities a career in technology had to offer.
"The technology industry and current employees of the sector need to work together to highlight the great opportunities that technology jobs can provide," she said.
Overall, the research showed that 43% of boys and girls felt a career in technology was "not exciting" and 30% said it was "too geeky".
However, 43% of those surveyed said they would be more attracted to the technology industry if they were provided with more information and help about opportunities in this sector at school. Pay was also an important factor, with 75% saying they would be attracted to a career in technology if they felt there was a significant financial reward on offer.