Global Resources

A bright future in ICTs opportunities for a new generation of women

Publisher: International Telecommunication Union
Publication Date: Jan 2012

What opportunities does the ICT sector offer for women and how can current gender inequalities in the sector be addressed? This summary report surveys the global trends in women’s professional development and employment in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, and offers a sample of the range of national policies, training programmes and initiatives targeting girls and women as potential students and professionals.

The report notes that the ICT sector remains a buoyant and growing sector for employment, and a key economic factor underpinning both national and international development. However, this growth in employment, however, has not yet led to a parallel increase in jobs for women in the ICT labour market, with the female to male ratio particularly pronounced at senior levels. Where women are represented in the ICT industry it is usually at the lowest levels. Research for the report found that women accounted for 30 per cent of operations technicians, only 15 per cent of managers and a mere 11 per cent of strategy and planning professionals.

The report notes that the ICT sector needs to invest more resources in human capital development and to create an enabling environment for women and girls. It argues that there are compelling economic reasons for engaging women more prominently, stating that improving the female to male employment ratio is good for economic growth. The report calls for a combination of approaches to address the current trends, including more emphasis on training girls in ICTs at school, providing incentives for recruitment of women, and offering career promotion training and mentorship. It notes that parents, teachers, career guidance counsellors and recruiters need to be made aware of and acknowledge that ICT careers are an important and viable opportunity for girls, and governments need to place a premium on promoting ICT skills in primary, secondary and higher education. The report also presents some examples of initiatives that are already underway to support women and girls in the ICT sector.