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Why aren't there more women in IT?

Vera Alves | Aug. 15, 2012
Liz Coulter is used to having big shoes to fill - men sized ones, usually. The director of IT Services at the University of Auckland started her IT career in Australia before moving to England, then back to Australia and finally to New Zealand where she settled last year. And yes, the main motivator for the move across the ditch was a man. Her father was one of the first programmers in Australia who brought Ethernet down under and created AusCERT. Her IT career was almost decided at birth.

But what are those boundaries? Harrigan says "women can have a great idea but reach a point when, to go from a small to a medium business, they need a framework that multinational companies take for granted". She says women tend to "undervalue" themselves and are "not known for being good at pitching themselves". This programme aims to help with those pitches and mentors women on a number of business key points such as the preparation of business plans.

The company is also launching a new programme this month called "IT is not for geeks" which it will take to schools to encourage teenage girls to choose technology as an area of study. "It's an hour and a half programme on why they should consider technology, to bust the myth that IT is purely technology, to really show that technology is pervasive in every sector of our life today," says Harrigan. Dell is kicking off the programme in Sydney this month and Harrigan says the next step is to start it in New Zealand as well.

On an internal level, the company also runs a number of programmes to help women move up in the chain, including the WISE (Women in Search of Excellence) and the "Taking the stage" programmes, which aim to "give women a voice". In ANZ, Dell has about 30 percent female staff across different areas of the business.


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