Despite the growing role of women in the United Kingdom's information technology industry, there are signs that a glass ceiling still exists. A recent survey found that 58 percent of women believe that being a woman makes it harder to succeed in an IT career, and 55 percent believe they do not earn as much as men in similar jobs.
The third annual Perceptions of Equal Pay Survey, by networking portal womenintechnology.co.uk, found that the pace of change, opportunity, and working with cutting-edge technology are the most positive aspects of the IT industry for women. Many survey respondents said that women are held to a higher standard than male IT workers, and skills that would be considered excellent in men are expected skills in women. Women also experience greater pressure to overachieve, affecting their work-life balance. About a third of respondents said they would be put off taking a career break or maternity leave.
A report by the National Skills Forum urges the industry to find new ways of encouraging young women to enter science, engineering, and IT roles. Research by psychologist Penelope Lockwood found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see role models. "Let’s create new role models and make sure that whenever the question 'who are the leading women in tech?' is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues," says consultant Suw Charman-Anderson, former executive director of the Open Rights Group.
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