"In pure technology departments, men still outnumber women by as much as nine to one. The sole woman in a predominantly male team often feels a sense of isolation," she said.
Karie Willyerd, vice president of learning and social adoption at SAP, said that unflattering stereotypes, like the depictions of engineers in the popular comic strip Dilbert, may have discouraged young girls from thinking about IT careers. But recent moves by building block maker Lego and other companies to create products aimed at exposing young girls to engineering could begin to change the cultural message, she added.
Paula Hunter, executive director of the nonprofit Outercurve Foundation, which offers a forum for open-source and commercial software developers to come together, also cited some advantages that can make tech work attractive to more women. Software engineering, she said, "is not only well paid, but highly flexible," and therefore, she added, it's a good profession for "women who want to work throughout their children's formative years."
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.
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