Women in tech continue to push for progress in 2018
Sydney, Thursday 8 March; ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector – has welcomed the International Women’s Day ‘Press for Progress’ as calls for improved diversity in the sector continue to grow.
Speaking following the ACS Victoria Branch Diversity Breakfast and the ACS Canberra Diversity Breakfast, Co-Chairs of the ACS National Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Ms Julie Gibson and Mr Sandeep Mathur, said ACS remains committed to growing female participation in the sector.
“On International Women’s Day, we shine a light on the issue of gender diversity in the technology industry. This is about all women; women with different racial backgrounds, women with disabilities, young women, older women and non-heterosexual women.”
“Currently in the ICT workforce in Australia, only 28% are women and there is a current shortage of workers in general to enter this workforce. So how do we attract young women and retain older women in the IT workforce to take up this opportunity? We need to make IT careers attractive and this not only requires a cultural shift in the workplace to ensure pay equity but initiatives such as flexible working.”
“There is also an acknowledged lack of women enrolling in ICT courses at universities so this must go back to teachers encouraging girls at school, and parents with their daughters at home, to start the conversation around what’s possible for women in technology careers.”
“The future is a very bright one in Australia for technology careers, and women of all diverse backgrounds should embrace these opportunities and be welcomed to engage.”
ACS President Yohan Ramasundara welcomed the continued focus on diversity and inclusion.
“Technology is a profession with enormous potential, but we must bring more women into the sector if we are to realise that. Every single person uses digital technologies at some point in their daily life, yet almost three in four workers in the sector are men.
“Technology is a profession which is accessible and has low barriers to entry. If we want to have a technology workforce with 50% women, the only thing stopping us is ourselves – and we will keep working to change that.
“Greater diversity makes for the best outcomes for organisations. And innovation happens when different thoughts come together.”
As an organisation ACS continues to focus on exceptional women in the technology space, with Dr Kate Raynes-Goldie, 2016 ICT Professional of the Year, delivering our EdXN (Education across the nation) program for 2018. Recently, ACS South Australia Immediate Past Chair Jo Stewart-Rattray joining a delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women to provide insight and expertise into how technology can empower rural women around the world.
Since launching the Digital Disruptors Awards in 2015, ACS has had a specific category for Young IT professional of the year (Female) to encourage young women in the technology profession.
ACS has continued to press for progress in the sector following the production of The Promise of Diversity report in December 2015. The key recommendations of this report were to deliver better gender equality outcomes in the ICT sector, increase female participation rates, develop a leadership role with ICT educators nationally, change perception of what an ICT profession can offer, and work with the tertiary sector to improve female participation and engagement.
In 2017, ACS formally launched its National Diversity and Inclusion Committee as part of the governance structure of the organisation. The members of this committee are Ms Dayle Stevens, Ms Fadzi Whande, Mr George Coldham, and Ms Sarah-Adam Gedge. The Committee’s objective is to provide leadership and strategic advice addressing workforce diversity and participation.
Troy Steer - 0417 173 740
ACS Director Corporate Affairs & Public Policy
ACS is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. More than 30,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.