"Girls Talk Tech" at Dalhousie, while numbers of women in the profession drop
Dalhousie University will mark International Women's Day by celebrating the role of women in the IT industry. "Girls Talk Tech" will feature a trio of speakers - all women who are intimate with the subject. The event comes at a time when the number of women enrolled in computer science programs across North America is sharply in decline.
Girls Talk Tech will feature a panel consisting of: Kirstie Hawkey (Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science), Sreejata Chatterjee (Magic Lamp Software, part time student and entrepreneur) and Michelle Daignault (Bell). The event will be held March 15, at 6:00 PM in the Dal Grad House. The topic will be flexible work options.
The number of women in computer science has been dropping for years across North America. The results of surveys conducted by the Computer Research Association, show that from 2002 through 2009 the female proportion of graduates from Computer Science Bachelor programs declined from 19.4% to 11.3% in Canada and the U.S. Dalhousie has also seen a drop in the numbers of women in Computer Science (from 18% in 2000/01 to 9% in 2009/10) despite overall upward trends in student enrollment.
The Women in Technology Society (WITS) created the Girls Talk Tech event at Dalhousie. 'Talk Tech' events run once per semester and create a space that encourages information sharing and networking. Talk Tech events connect students with women in the profession, so they can learn about opportunities that exist and what it will be like for them after graduation and provides them with mentors. They also serve women working in the field, who may feel disconnected after graduation. The events connect women back to the university, the research that’s being done and provide them with ways to connect with future employees.
International Women's Day is March 8. Each year thousands of events are held on that date throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements.
"It is a fact that women are a minority in computer science related degrees. I think this is because there are a lot of myths and stereotypes of people who go into computer science or have computer science degrees. It’s kind of overwhelming or intimidating to be in a degree with lots of males and you to be the only girl in a class. WITS works to promote women in technology. It supports women who are currently taking computer science and encourage young women in high school to consider IT degrees." - Sara Maldonado, third year Informatics student and president of the Women in Technology Society (WITS).
"Women have a different take on technology, they gravitate towards areas that have a human communication component such as software engineering. In addition, women currently make up fewer than 20 per cent of the workforce and we are graduating fewer and fewer women every year, so there will be fewer women entering the IT field. Eventually all the senior managers will become men and that will change the perspectives again. This change means that the field will be missing that very important voice if women don’t enroll in computer science degrees." Mike Shepherd, Dean of Computer Science
"Still, to this day less than 20 per cent of women are in the IT workforce, yet if you look at the consumer numbers, how many people use IT products such as Groupon over 77 per cent are women." - Sara Maldonado, third year Informatics student and president of the Women in Technology Society (WITS).
Bachelor of Informatics students in the faculty of Computer Science Sara Maldonado
|Computer Science student Sara Maldonado|
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