Saturday, March 14, 2009

International Women's Day

I was lucky to attend a luncheon this week celebrating International Women's Day. The theme for this year was Women in Education and it was very interesting to hear speeches from staff members and students who discussed their experiences. A common theme was the increased opportunities education offers women.

Law and IT are both fields which have often been considered male dominated.

In law it seems that while the majority of graduates are females and they are often recruited to large firms, there are significant impediments to them being promoted to be partners. Furthermore, many women leave the profession altogether - a recent article in the Australian 'lawyer 2b' magazine reports that the Women Lawyers Association of NSW are currently preparing to undertake extensive research to determine why it is that so many women leave - no doubt the lack of flexible work hours and workplace culture play a major part in their decision.

In IT there has been far less participation by women at the university level and as a result fewer graduates and a lower level of participation in the workforce. In the UK IT industry it has been suggested that women are, on average, paid 23% less than their male counterparts and participation has dropped from 21% to 16%, with similar issues across the EU.

It seems that while education is clearly a key part to creating the conditions for women to succeed, there is a lot of work to do in both of these fields to ensure equal participation and prosperity.

Further Reading
ABC News, Protests mark International Women's Day (9 March 2009) <> at 14 March 2009

Women Lawyers Association of NSW <> at 14 March 2009

The Register, UK IT should 'fire men first', says Kate Craig-Wood (10 March 2009)
<> at 14 March 2009

The Register, IT industry needs more women <> at 14 March 2009

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