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Summary: Promoting Positive Role Models to Bridge the Technology Gender Gap

Samantha Swift, Product Manager at McAfee Labs, shares the results from a recent survey undertaken by McAfee, which was featured in the national press.

In this presentation, Samantha discussed research that asked: ‘Could people recognise the names of prominent men and women in IT?’

The findings showed that 90% over 4,000 of respondents had heard of Bill Gates, 78% had heard of Mark Zuckerberg, and 70% had heard of Steve Jobs. Only 5% of respondents didn’t recognise any of the ten prominent men in technology included.

By contrast, of the women in technology shown, 17% had heard of Martha Lane Fox, and it went down hill from there. In fact, 72% of respondents didn’t recognise any of the names of ten prominent women in technology.

So who’s fault is this? Why do girls do not have adequate encouragement?

The survey respondents blamed society the Government and the lack of female role models. However, Samantha stressed that it is not helpful to just point at a problem. If anything, this could be compounding the problem. May be we just need to stop shouting about the problem and do something. After all, there is evidence that there is a 35% higher return on investment for organisations with women in leadership roles.

She challenged everyone at FOTE14 to be a role model for young girls. In particular, she recommended reading Women in IT and passing on the stories of these inspirational women.

Image Credit: Chris Renton

posted by kpitkin on October 3, 2014

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