Sex Discrimination – The Six Factors holding women in IT back


Sex Discrimination

A reader sent us this about Sex Discrimination in the IT workplace.

Not so many women come into IT. The figures show that women make up only 15% to 20% of the IT population.

However, the numbers in senior management roles are even less than that. There are a variety of reasons for this sex discrimination.


It goes without saying that women get pregnant and men don‘t. It‘s not surprising then that companies make decisions based on whether women are going to be around for a long time.

However, as women are having the babies of men it would an idea for men to show women some sympathy to this ‘˜disadvantage‘ in terms of their careers that women suffer from. We‘d much rather have a decent shot at a career than the door opened for us.

To equalise things, men should get the same opportunity to take the same amount of time off as women get when there is a pregnancy.

After all if a women isn‘t able to work because of her advanced pregnancy then she is going to need someone in the home to do some of her work for her there. After the baby is born it will need to bond with its father as much as it will with its mother.


Women with children do not get the same opportunities to socialize with their bosses and work mates after work as they need to get home to look after their children.

This is obviously a disadvantage but it cannot be blamed on the company or workplace.

After all most women have a partner and if it is the woman who has to go home while her partner stays behind to socialize this is a problem but not one created by the company that they work for.


There is still a view in some quarters that women are not the intellectual equals of men.

This stems from the times when women had to stay at home to look after the children and cook for their husbands and didn‘t have the opportunity to prove themselves out in the wider world.

As women are proving themselves just as capable as men you don‘t hear this arguments so much now, but there are still some old-fashioned sex discrimination diehards who believe it – including some in the workplace.

Leadership Perceptions

Probably the biggest sex discrimination bar to promotion for women is the perception that management have of the likely management candidates.

They tend to promote people who fit into the mould of managers – and in the past when women mainly stayed in the home, most of these managers were men. This fact still feeds into present perceptions of what a manager should look like.

Perceptions of Management Virtues

There is still a perception in many firms of the type of characteristics that a manager should have.

Many of these supposed management characteristics are male characteristics.

There is still the idea that kick-ass managers obtain the best results – despite the huge mass of evidence to the contrary.

Lack of Role Models

Television has broken down the ideas that there are no women judges or barristers. It‘s the same with teachers, doctors etc.

Once people see them on TV then they don‘t think anything of the idea of women being in a senior position in a profession – and suddenly you see a lot more of them in real life.

It wasn‘t so long ago that people thought that women couldn‘t be TV newsreaders as they didn‘t have the gravitas for it.

Now there are loads of women newsreaders and there isn‘t an issue. Perceptions have changed and sex discrimination is rarer.

It‘s a shame there isn‘t a popular TV show about life in an IT department which depicts women in senior roles. That would do far more for women‘s careers in IT than anything else.

This article hasn‘t been an attempt to do down men or blame them for the predicament of women in IT.

It is merely an attempt to get greater appreciation of what the problems are and a few possible ways that it can be fixed or alleviated.