Passionate and motivated women have, for years, strived to increase representation in the IT industry and yet men still dominate technology firms. Gillian Arnold FBCS, co-author of a new book on the topic, says it is time for change.

As we set about researching 'Women in Tech: A practical guide to increasing gender diversity and inclusion', the book on women in tech, we realised that the percentage of women working in technology hasn’t budged one iota since the late 1990s.

We might get a slight shift in the figures this year, but really this isn’t good enough. And yet, we women have been working on this issue for all this time. We must be bad at it then! We (and our few male allies) aren’t making a change to the figures. It is time that you men had a go at fixing this. There are, after all, over four times more of you than there are of us - so you may have four times the chance of fixing the problem; and be able to sort it in a quarter of the time.

We know you want to, because we know you recognise that if we get the numbers of women to parity in the IT professions we will go a long long way to fixing the IT skills shortage in the UK. We also know that you are aware that when organisations have a diverse mix of employees they get better revenue figures, better share-prices, better productivity and better innovation. Why wouldn’t you act!?!

Shifting the debate about diversity in IT

So - as we hand over the baton to you, we thought you might like to know what we have been doing to date to fix the problem. With your diversity of thought, you will come up with other ideas, we are sure.

So far, we have:

  • Worked on the numbers of women taking up tech in schools, colleges and universities (there is still much to do here - the numbers are paltry - and we lose women throughout the pipeline).
  • Entered every competition and spotted every bit of talent to make sure that we showcase all the female tech role-models to encourage those coming up in the professions now.
  • Joined and run employee resource groups or grass-roots teams and have networked like mad to counter the networks that we find it hard to penetrate.
  • Blogged and presented, and written, taught and talked to encourage and enlighten the women and the companies.
  • Mentored and coached one another to find ways through the glass ceiling and to help others up the steps.
  • Trained new groups of entrants; mums, returners switchers and any woman who was vaguely interested.
  • Created charters and frameworks and books of activities to show others the way.

It’s funny. You would have thought we might have made a difference in all these years. Still - our parting gift to you, as we leave you to take over the baton and really make a change to the paltry numbers of women in tech, is our book. It’s called a ‘practical guide’ and we hope you will find it just that. We know you are going to make great strides! We look forward to seeing the huge change you make by 2025.