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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Appeal for more 'IT' girls
Woman staring at a computer screen
Few women work in information technology
The UK Government is launching a new initiative to attract more women to the information technology industry.

We want to see more IT girls and fewer net nerds in our computing industries

Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary
Although women make up almost half of the UK's workforce, only one in five techies are women.

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the government would introduce measures next year to try to draw more women to the industry.

"We need to give information technology an image makeover to make it more attractive to women," she said. "The image that many schoolgirls have of IT is more computer geek than computer chic.

"We want to see more IT girls and fewer net nerds in our computing industries," she said.

Help and advice

The initiative will target women of all ages. Among the measures will be:

  • encouraging more girls to use computers in school;
  • helping young women making their first career choices more aware of information technology opportunities;
  • working with businesses to improve how they recruit and retain women in technology jobs;
  • offering advice to women who are unemployed, returning to work after a career break, or are looking for a change.

Lucrative career

"IT means big business," said Patricia Hewitt.

In the past five years, the number of jobs in the computing industry has grown by a 50%, compared to an 8% growth in the general workforce, creating 336,000 more jobs.

"Although more women are now working than ever before, too many are low paid and too few are well paid.

"I want to see more women in interesting, well paid jobs and IT is a great way to get there. Female IT graduates earn about 3,000 more than other female graduates," she said

See also:

11 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Techies choose Gates not glamour
18 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Women reconnect online
14 Jun 01 | Business
Women overtake men online
28 Sep 00 | UK
Women 'find lovers online'
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