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Women in It: Success and Struggle

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women in IT

Credit: Network World

Female participation in the information technology (IT) industry is growing and women now account for 15 percent to 25 percent of technical professionals, although only about 8 percent of management positions.

Eva Chen is one of the women who has worked her way into a leadership position. After attending the University of Texas for graduate study, Chen founded Trend Micro, working as the company's chief technical officer. After Trend Micro went public in 2004, Chen became the company's CEO. Chen says a major source of inspiration was her family, who always voiced a belief in what women could accomplish.

Some analysts say that high-tech companies are pushing female employees to the point of exhaustion due to the industry's traditional round-the-clock demands, its dismissive attitude toward family life, and the marginalization of women compared to their male colleagues.

"In high-tech companies, 'flexibility' often means staying until midnight coupled with the expectation of increased productivity and constant availability," concluded a Stanford University and Anita Borg Institute of Women and Technology report titled "Climbing the Technical Ladder: Obstacles and Solutions of Mid-Level Women in Technology." The study found that the always-on attitude in Silicon Valley had a more devastating affect on women than on men for a variety of reasons. For example, mid-level technical men who participated in the survey were more likely to have a spouse or partner who did not work full-time and accepted household responsibilities, but the women were usually married or partnered to professionals like themselves but still were the household managers. The report suggested implementing greater flexibility and mentoring programs to keep women from leaving high-tech jobs in favor of family life.

View a slideshow for a closer look at nine women in IT.

From Network World
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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