Women in IT mission statement (Educause group purpose statement)

25 02 2010

Abstract
=========
The field of information technology (IT) has the potential to be a great
gender equalizer. Opportunities for women in higher education might be
even more conceivable. The EDUCAUSE Women in IT Constituent Group was
formed to support the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women
in higher education IT. Toward this goal, the constituent group brings
you this panel session to discuss challenges facing women, overcoming
the challenges, and resources that can help women achieve parity with
men in higher education IT. This session isn’t just for women. We hope
men will also attend to understand what motivates women in IT and foster
productive relationships.

Problem statement/issue
==========================
One of challenges facing recruitment of women in IT is overcoming the
perception that IT is for men. This is especially important among young
women faced with choices about their field of study and career. Because
IT is perceived as a male dominated field, women might not even be aware
of career opportunities in IT. Women who overcome this hurdle to obtain
a career in IT are often faced with work/life balance issues that
threaten their job security. IT careers have tremendous potential to
overcome this challenge. Finally, as women seek to advance their
career, they might encounter the glass ceiling. Finding the confidence
to challenge the perception of men as IT leaders can be intimidating.
Where can women go to discuss these challenges? What relationships are
important to overcoming these challenges? This panel discussion will
attempt to address these challenges.

Solution/activity/project
=========================
This panel will focus on ideas, activities and solutions to address the
challenges facing women in higher education IT. They will present
success stories about women overcoming challenges. Topics covered will
include:

• A wiki where women can share experiences and advice.
• Internships and volunteer opportunities to draw more women into IT.
• Mentoring programs to help women advance their careers.
• Confidence-building methods to help women pursue advancement.
• Workshops that teach women how to improve negotiating skills to
promote advancement.
• Flexible work environments and benefits to support a better
work/life balance.

Outcome
=========
Women who attend this panel session will feel encouraged to find better
satisfaction with their careers in IT. New ideas for the advancement of
women in IT are expected to arise. Men who attend this panel session
will find more satisfactory relationships with women in the workplace.
By putting into action ideas from this panel session, the EDUCAUSE Women
in IT Constituent Group will move closer to achieving their goal of
supporting the recruitment, retention and advancement women in IT.

Relevance/importance
======================
While the role of women in IT might be increasing, they are often the
only female at the table. Events such as this panel session will
provide support and encouragement for women, leading to better
satisfaction with their careers. New ideas might arise to facilitate
the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in IT. Men
attending this panel session will better understand the role of women in
IT and develop improved working relationships.

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