Gender imbalance affects many industries in the world and more so in this part of the world. The IT field is a male dominant field worldwide. Well-developed countries invest hugely in measuring and fighting back gender imbalance in various fields, especially the field of IT. Such initiatives are globally backed up by governments, professional associations, institutions, civic society organizations, and research centers. This phenomenon, however, has never been studied in this country. We lack all sorts of information and knowledge on the gender balance of the IT workforce. This is where “women in IT” comes in as an initiative of CIDA, Center for Informatics and Data Analytics at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS).
Research and studies around the world have identified various reasons for this gender imbalance. These reasons include, but are not limited to, clear problems with gender diversity in the educational pipeline, recruiting and hiring, paying and promoting, and job retention or leaving their job in the first year because the workplace policies are not suited to women. CIDA’s proposed project is a long-term project with short-term, realistic deliverables that aims to find the reasons and find solutions. To serve this purpose, below are the goals and objectives of this proposed project:
Goal One: Provide up-to-date, accurate information on the gender imbalance of the IT workforce in the country. This goal is achieved through the following objectives:
Objective 1.1: Conduct surveys of the workforce in the country to measure the percentage of male and female workers in the IT field.
Objective 1.2: Analyze and visualize the data that is collected from the surveys to answer specific questions and make the findings clear.
Objective 1.3: Publish the findings through multiple online and offline channels to share the results with multiple stakeholders.
Goal Two: Increase awareness of the gender imbalance of the IT workforce in the country. This goal is achieved through the following objectives:
Objective 2.1: Create an online blog on female experiences and thoughts regarding working in the field of IT to highlight the advantages and disadvantages.
Objective 2.2: Identify role models from the field of IT, nationally and internationally, to work as real examples of inspiration and success in the field.
Goal Three: Construct solutions to fight back the gender imbalance of the IT workforce in the country. This goal is achieved through the following objectives:
Objective 3.1: Involve and inform various stakeholders from government, businesses, institutions, and the civic society in open discussions on the phenomenon.
Objective 3.2: Promote further discussions and research on the phenomenon to look into the reasons behind the gender imbalance.
This project is a project of our newly founded center, CIDA, and its vision is to contribute to the government’s, society’s, and businesses’ growth and development through empowering data-driven decision-making. The value of this project is significant and it has a great impact on women, IT and all the community. Through the project, CIDA aims to drive gender diversity in the workplace and advance women in IT to empower women with resources and information. This will positively impact their technology careers, inspire women to choose careers in technology and help technology businesses create cultures that support a diverse workforce. In conclusion, we encourage diversity for business and create inclusive work environments for all people. This project can be made possible with the support of all.
If you are interested in getting involved or finding out more about the project, please, contact us.