International Women's Day has long been a time when the focus shifts to gender inequalities and unequal pay. In the IT sector, concentration tends to centre on the lack of women in the profession and how the industry can be more appealing to half of its resource pool.
As we mark the event again today, statistics and surveys show that women are pretty much in the same position as they were last year.
The European Commission (EC) has outlined an EU Action Plan on gender equality for the next five years, and has said that the region needs to be a role model for the rest of the world.
The plan suggests that Europe should hold regular meetings to assess progress on the issue, as gender equality has not shown much improvement in recent years.
EU Information Society and Media commissioner Viviane Reding said at a conference marking International Women's Day that Europe needs particularly to focus on unequal pay.
"I am deeply concerned that the gender pay gap has barely fallen over the last 15 years," she said.
The EC said today that it will continue to try to improve women's pay in Europe, which currently averages 82 per cent of men's pay. It is even worse in the UK, where the average is less than 79 per cent.
Women are particularly under represented in the technology sector. EC statistics released last week show that only one in five IT practitioners are women. The number of women employed in other science sectors has been increasing, but the IT sector had a higher proportion of women in the 1980s than it does now.
A poll undertaken by Women in Technology found that females in IT rate equal treatment and equal pay as their top requests.
One respondent said: "[I wish] people would assume that [women in IT] have interesting, innovative and strategic thinking without them having to work so hard to constantly establish credibility."
Another wished that women would "support each other rather than compete". Other wishes were for more role models for women in IT, more women in senior IT positions and for women to have more trust in their own skills and abilities.
"It has been 40 years since the Equal Pay Act and, although we have made progress, we still haven't closed the gender pay gap, so that's definitely a big hope for the future," said Maggie Berry, managing director of Women in Technology.
"Fewer women are pursuing IT careers and more are leaving, so we need to get those numbers up and we need more female technologist role models."
Sally Davis, managing director of Growing Ambitions, an organisation that puts schools in touch with workplace professionals, warned that the number of young women in IT has fallen by 40 per cent over the past four years.
"A lot of this is because women lack role models. They need more inspiration to enter the sector," she said.
Growing Ambitions particularly needs more female IT professionals to talk to students, according to Davis.
"We are definitely experiencing a lack of female IT professionals because of the profile of the industry," she said.
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