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Women in information technology stymied by gender gap, readers report

Staff, SearchCIO-Midmarket.com

The IT industry is seeing more women break into senior leadership positions, but their path to the C-suite isn't always easy. In something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the current

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gender gap might convince some leaders that women in information technology fields are unprepared for higher-level technology positions, thereby limiting the number of female advancement opportunities in IT workplaces.

According to TechTarget's IT Salary Survey 2012, men still held more than 75% of executive positions in technology in the past year. The survey also found that female respondents in C-level executive positions reported an average salary of $86,294, while males raked in $108,741. This data suggests that, even after a female breaks through the proverbial glass ceiling, there are still inequalities to confront.

SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's ongoing Women in Tech series has stirred up quite a bit of conversation on the role of women in IT. In two recent articles, we asked our readers to weigh in on these matters, prompting them with questions about encouraging women in IT to break through the glass ceiling and closing the gender gap.

Perceptions are still that women are more likely to take long leaves mid-career and this shuts them out of some of the plum roles and salaries.

In response to an article on how women in information technology can shatter the glass ceiling, SearchCIO-Midmarket.com asked, "Who should own the responsibility of encouraging more women in IT?" We suggested that readers choose between CIOs/senior IT leaders, schools/colleges and women themselves. Responses varied, and commenters explained that responsibility should not fall on the shoulders of one group in particular:

  • "Everyone on that list of choices should be responsible for encouraging more women in tech. A single thread of encouragement is insufficient to overcome the obstacles."

  • "I would say this could go either way. It is the women's place to take action but it is the CIO/IT leaders that should help [encourage] them."

  • "CIOs and senior leaders, male or female, have a role in encouraging women in technology fields."

  • "Women can make or break themselves. I know women who own and run their own companies and they do so themselves. Education helps, but it is individual will and drive that makes the difference. Also, are you willing to make the sacrifices that are required for the job?"

In another recent article, which examined salary data showing that the salaries of women in IT are lower than those of their male peers, SearchCIO-Midmarket.com followed up by asking, "Will the salary gender gap in IT close during your career?" Not a single reader respondent voted, "Yes, this is happening now," and comments implied a bleak future for women in IT.

  • "I doubt the pay gender gap will close, especially if it is being practiced unconsciously as the article states."

  • "Only if women demand more, will they be paid more."

  • "I am based out of India, and work for a world-famous U.S. tech-related co. that's the top in its segment. India's scenario is infinitely bleaker when it comes to women in IT. I don't see much hope in next 20 years given the negative baggage of our recent history."

  • "The gender gap will improve but until we look at tenure, years of continuous experience, and level of sacrifice to the company, we won't have a complete picture. Perceptions are still that women are more likely to take long leaves mid-career and this shuts them out of some of the plum roles and salaries."

More on the IT gender gap

How women communicate differently than men

Why women are needed in technology

Fitting women into the culture of IT

Clearly, there's some work to be done on the part of current executives, universities and women themselves to break the glass ceiling and create a more equal gender ratio in higher-level IT positions, and our readers are not confident that these changes will happen in the near future.

What can be done to increase the number of female leaders in IT? Does your organization currently have a female CIO or women in C-suite positions? Do you strongly agree -- or disagree -- with any of the respondents above? Comment here or on the story pages to voice your opinion.

Let us know what you think about the story; email editor@techtarget.com

This was first published in December 2012

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