Being the only girl in the group reflections

Last week our Women in ICT group lunch event was titled “Being the only girl in the group: strategies for success”. I presented the attendees with some scenarios, gleaned from a Resource Booklet for Female Graduate Students, created by the School of IS at another university in 2002. Students discussed the scenario’s (eg. my ideas are overlooked, trivialized. My group excludes me. I keep being assigned the note taking tasks, being criticized more than others) and provided strategies for dealing with this. Several things struck me. Each of these women discussed the point that it may be more trust at stake than gender. Their strategies involved being prepared, taking the lead, gaining the groups confidence. We are still only 18% of the Faculty, but what a positive and powerful 18% these women are. The second thing that was important last week was that our lunch was held in a new Women’s space on campus. I remembered my recollections of the Women’s room in the university I attended in the 1970s. Some of the students were thrilled to find this space, with a kitchen attached, where they could work or socialise. We talked about the relatively short time that women have been permitted to study on university campuses (120 yrs). We have come a long way as a group – women are more than 56% of the cohort of most university student bodies these daysin Australia- but we are also aware that there is a long road ahead to normalise the expectation that ICT is a career for women. I left the lunch feeling very positive about the outlook of these women, however the task ahead for all of us is to alter societal stereotypes and expectations of careers for women.

September 17, 2012. Tags: , , . Gender, ICT. Leave a comment.