That was the headline of a feature newspaper story, starting with the sentence: “Educators in the information technology sector are puzzled. They can’t figure out why women are not enrolling in the field.” Concordia University states that women were 20% of enrolled students in the early 1990s but that’s now down to about 10%. Another enrollment official stated: “I really don’t know why this is happening.”
Much of the article lamented the fact that women are not enrolling in IT programs and wondered if it was related to the perception of a lack of jobs in the field?
Nope. It’s not about the perception of job availability at all. That would relate to total overall enrollment and wouldn’t plummet only the percentage of women from a measly 20, down to less than 10 percent. One quote was from a female IT graduate with a software degree and a great career with IBM: “I’m surprised the number of women is down because there are so many initiatives on campus and from IT companies to help promote women in the sector.”
But it’s not about pushing or promoting. The smallest groups in the population (based on Myers Briggs) are Green women and Blue men. That is the biggest reason there aren’t more male elementary teachers or women in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Yes, anyone can succeed in any career. But studies keep showing that five years after graduation, less than 20% of people are still in the career for which they have their degree! How sad and unnecessary. Is it (should it be) about incentives or promoting or about having a career that suits our personality types where we tend to be much happier and comfortable working in the strengths of our Colors?
Are we spending a ton of energy, time and money on trying to do something that may not be mathematically possible? Are we working hard or smart to focus on this particular area? Wouldn’t that same effort to finally get to pay equity, to have something close to gender parity on Boards, in senior management, or political office have more success AND have a much larger benefit for everyone?