Women in IT: Why Gender Balance is an Urgent Priority for Federal IT

Requiring gender balance as a priority for Federal IT is necessary for many reasons, only one of which is to ensure that women are fairly represented in the government IT sector.

It also helps each agency or company become more diverse and expose the organization to a variety of ideas and perspectives. Over 500,000 IT job openings were available in the US in the last quarter of 2013. According to industry body CompTIA, “only 24 percent of US IT professionals are female.”

Bernadette Andrietti, a vice president at technology firm Intel, says it is in the interests of companies and governments to help women advance in the technology industry. “Women offer a fresh perspective on product design, ways of working, risk-taking and many other aspects of business.”

So, why are there fewer women in the Federal IT industry? SquareHub‘s co-founder, Dave Cotter shared insights from women on why they aren’t applying for available tech positions: “We were hosting a women in coding event, and one of the most eye-opening experiences was listening to women talking about whether they should apply for a Zulily job. And this one woman said, ‘Well, I haven’t applied because I don’t meet this one criteria.’” Cotter said. (Geekwire.com)

It’s about maximizing the opportunity. Women must feel empowered to apply to positions that interest them even if they don’t feel ‘perfectly’ qualified. While it’s important to assess the organization’s need in comparison to what you can offer, it’s just as important to take risks and challenges.