gender#it – Is there anybody going to listen to her story?

Chair: Dr. Christine Leitner, Centre for Economics and Public Administration (CEPA), UK, chairperson OCG/gender#it ,

In 2014 Austrian Computer Society (OCG) relaunched its working group on gender and IT, gender#it. The working group focuses on exploring attitudes and underlying values in society that shape the behaviour of individuals and as a consequence have an influence on the choices young people make regarding their educational and professional career paths.

Industry and media are finally beginning to take notice. A recently released documentary film, ‚Code‘ by the American director Robin Hauser Reynolds, is attempting to shine a spotlight on the problem and its root causes, most of which are already well researched and amply documented. They start at home and continue throughout the educational curriculum: limited information on relevant career paths, often suffused with gender stereotypes, a shortage of female role models and the general perception of IT as a ‚male dominated‘ environment all contribute to discouraging young women from pursuing a career in the field of IT.

gender#it intends to find innovative solutions to these challenges. It takes a fresh approach towards

  • Understanding the motivation of women in IT professions;
  • Portraying women working in IT related professions in various sectors, including government, health, industry, creative professions, research and education, etc;
  • Exploring future scenarios.

gender#it envisages to develop a cross-cultural platform with a focus on the exchange of views and collaboration among Central and Eastern European countries. It aims to

  • Identify of a set of joint core values;
  • Exchange of knowledge and experience;
  • Join forces in joint activities such communication strategies/campaigns, research projects, etc.

At the fringe of the 2015 CEEEGOV Conference, gender#it is organising a first international brainstorming workshop. Attendees will explore

  • the current state of play;
  • if and how attitudes can be influenced by role models and (what communication channels/platforms could serve as good practice examples (e.g. award winning storytellers at whatchado);
  • joining forces in the framework of the OCG’s gender#it working group.