International Women’s Day and Information Technology

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The University of Ottawa is committed to a workplace that is diverse and equitable. These diverse backgrounds and experiences contribute to a workplace that is more stimulating, innovative and supportive to our community. On March 8, International Women’s Day is held around the world to celebrate the achievements of women and address areas where there is more work to be done in terms of gender equality.

According to information-age.com, “In the digital industries, just 26% of jobs are held by women, far below the overall workforce average of 47%. In IT, the figure is even lower at 16%.” Information Technology at uOttawa rises slightly above that number with 28% of jobs held by women. One way we can promote gender equality is by ensuring the viewpoints of all genders are present in our daily decision-making and implementation of solutions.

Thank you to all the women in Information Technology and in IT positions across the University for sharing your unique ideas and experience. Here are a few reflections about working at the University and in IT from some of our female colleagues:

  • “I enjoy solving problems and more specifically analysis of technological problems. Whether it is a project or a small bug in the code, the fact that it requires investigation motivates me a great deal. I refer to it as ‘healthy food for my brain’. I was a developer for 20 years and my experience has been very positive. I have always been in an environment where I have been able to balance my family and work. Yes, there are crunch times but overall I was able to take maternity leaves and be considered for exciting opportunities upon my return.” – Cecilia Geldrez, Application Manager.
  • “When I started in 1985, there were only mainframes, terminals and a keyboard to connect. I was teaching short courses on the mainframe to staff and students. Since I had studied when PC DOS 1.0 (the first personal computer operating system from IBM) came out, and had experienced when microcomputers and Local Area Networks exploded on campus in the 1990s, I switched to supporting those environments. In the last 5 years, I have supported the virtual environment. We have over 1,100 virtual servers and many physical servers. The fast and ever-changing computing world has always been interesting to me. I have seen maybe 1% of women, compared to men, in my department.” - Esther Clérin, Systems Analyst.
  • “I see that positions within the workplace and the opportunities available to women have improved significantly in the past 20 years, but I don’t know why this progress doesn’t seem to be reflected in the number of women pursuing computer and technology careers today. In my team, today the ratio is still 1 woman for every 4 men.” - Nathalie Vaillancourt, Business Analyst.

Women in Information Technology Infographic (click to view a larger version)

Women in Information Technology Infographic

 

Infographic text version:

Title: Women in Information Technology

By the numbers...

Internationally

  • 47% of global workforce represented by women
  • 26% of women work in digital industries
  • 16% working women in Information Technology field
  • 18% executive positions in IT are held by women

 

at the University of Ottawa

  • 61% of regular support staff are women
  • in Information Technology
    • 28% positions are staffed by women
    • 70% of women occupy an IT function
    • 30% of management positions held by women

 

Although women currently staff only 28% of the positions in Information Technology at uOttawa, there is hope 6 out of 10 work-study positions are currently occupied by women

Ways we can encourage more females to consider a career in Information Technology

  • Give female mentors a chance to showcase their success and passion for technology
  • Expose girls to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at a young age
  • Develop outreach programs to communicate the benefits of a STEM career
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