While the IT industry has had a number of female role models — most recently Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! — there is a growing concern that not enough women are making it to the senior leadership ranks of tech companies. That's despite the fact that more female CIOs than ever are leading the technology charge at Fortune 500 companies like Exxon Mobil, Boeing, Dell, Walmart, Bank of America, Xerox, and GE. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 women made up 57% of the country's professional workforce but held just 25% of the jobs in professional computing occupations. Moreover, Fortune 500 female CIOs still account for just 12% of the total. The general consensus is that IT has come a long way in its attitudes toward women, but there's still a long way to go.
The persistently lopsided male-to-female ratios distress pioneering women in the tech industry like Nora Denzel, a former senior vice president at Intuit and Hewlett-Packard who graduated with a B.S. in computer science in 1984. At the time, the perception was that women would account for the next great wave of talent within the tech industry. Yet, thirty years later, Denzel is now a member of the board of directors at the nonprofit Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, talking in public about the lack of women in computing. Her take is that women were making progress until the mid '80s, when the supply of women peaked at 37% in '85. By 2010, only 18% of CS undergrads were women.
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