Socitm urges councils to encourage women in IT

Briefing paper outlines benefits and points to three key measures

Public sector IT association Socitm has called on local authorities to encourage more women into IT roles.

It has published a policy paper, Leading Edge Women Leading Digital, that argues there is a strong business case for the move. This is partly in an improvement in ‘cognitive diversity’, with women having a different way to their male colleagues of looking at issues, and in the potential to increase productivity, inventiveness and sustainability.

Policy paper coverThe paper outlines three main measures for councils to take. One is to challenge its people who control interviewing and recruitment to design career progression paths that resonate with women.

A second is to design and implement structure programmes to support more women in visible positions of leadership. The third is to invest in local initiatives such as Tech Mums and Rewise learning that encourage the development of technology skills across communities.

The paper says the main barriers facing women in the field are organisational structures and inflexible employment policies, a double burden of work and home responsibilities, and unequal recruitment, pay and progression.

It also points to a survey by BCS Diversity in IT 2017 report, which found that in the previous year just 17% of IT specialists were women, and the figure did not exceed 20% in any region of the UK.

Socitm has been pushing the agenda for some time, partly through its Empowering Women in a Digital World programme, which aims to help women in the sector develop their leadership skills. It is about to fund for the fifth time.