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Why aren't more women in ICT?

Equal Opportunities Commission wants to know

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The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is carrying out a "major investigation" to discover why there are so few women working in the ICT sector.

It wants to hear from employers and workers as part of an initiative to understand what makes the industry "tick" and why so many women are put-off getting into ICT.

The consultation - which is also targetting the plumbing, engineering, construction and childcare sectors - follows on from an EOC report in May which found a direct link between the segregation of the sexes in some sectors and serious skills shortages.

Plugging Britain's Skills Gap revealed that the number of women working in the industry has fallen recently from 23 per cent to 20 per cent. Part of this is blamed on the industry's "poor image", particularly among girls who might otherwise be attracted to work in the industry.

One unnamed 24-year-old-woman quoted in the report said: "I have recently started working in the ICT industry. I fix computer problems and get told things like, 'wow, you should be an honorary male' or 'gosh you should have been born a boy', and it really gets you down.

"It makes you feel like an outcast and is depressing, so much so I have recently considered converting to law. Perhaps a job in cyber-law would be more 'female', more acceptable."

Those wishing to take part can access the questionnaire on the EOC website (eoc.org.uk/segregation). Deadline for completed surveys is Friday 27 August. ®

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