First Step to Transforming an Industry Rife with Gender Discrimination
Vic ICT for Women, a professional organisation for women in IT, has today launched The Click List – a national list of highly qualified and engaging female tech speakers – in a move to disrupt the male dominated tech industry. Tired of attending tech events with a clear lack of female representation, The Click List was created as a free resource for event organisers to ensure gender equality at their events.
Vic ICT 4 Women, Board Member, Rowena Murray, said event organisers can no longer blame the limited pool of qualified women.
"Australia has some of the most highly qualified, dynamic and interesting female tech speakers – we're so sick of hearing the excuse that there were no women available. It's time to put an end to the -all white middle-aged man' panel – event organisers can do better than that."
In an industry rife with gender discrimination, Ms Murray believes a stronger female presence at tech industry events will have a positive flow-on effect for women in the workplace.
"The lack of female representation at tech events is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only is there a shocking gender gap in the tech industry, but it's rife with discrimination. Women in tech are paid around 20% less than men, are criticised more harshly, and it's much harder for women to break into leadership roles."
Vic ICT 4 Women has conducted extensive research into gender inequality in the tech industry. The findings show that despite a 70% growth of ICT jobs since 1996, women account for only 16% of ICT roles. Once in the workplace, women in tech are 74% more likely to be criticised on their characters in performance reviews and are paid 20% less than their male peers. Unless there is a diverse leadership team, women are 20% less likely to have their ideas endorsed.
When it comes to family life, 75% of women in ICT roles have children, however only 25% of women in ICT leadership roles do – an indication that women are forced to choose between career and family. Nearly 30% of women have chosen flexibility over career progression and 72% of women in IT are actively seeking assistance with work/life balance. Unsurprisingly, there's a very low retention rate for women in ICT roles; more than half (56%) leave their jobs by mid-career, and of these, 51 % leave the industry completely.
"It's disheartening because there are so many talented women who have the potential to make Australia's tech industry great, but they're not being supported or celebrated. Industry events are where we go for new ideas and inspiration – but when event organisers don't include women they're ultimately saying we're not a valued part of the industry. Changing this is the first step to eradicating the gender discrimination in tech."
The Click List is launching with a number of women from a range of disciplines and will continue to expand over the coming months. Some of the speakers include Dr Caitlin Byrt, a research scientist and lecturer studying how to improve plants for future food security, Anna Leibel, the CIO at Uni Super, Dr Sara Dods, a technologist and innovation business leader who has worked on high profile projects with Telstra Health and CSIRO and Dayle Stevens, Divisional CIO at AGL, Board Member of Robogals and Girl Geek Academy Ambassador.
Accessing The Click List is completely free for anyone looking for speakers or MCs for conferences, events, think tanks, hackathons, networking sessions, expert panels and more. For more information visit www.theclicklist.com.au.