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- Author or Editor: Gilda Seddighi x
After decades of research, we know quite a lot about factors excluding women from ICT, but we are still short of effective solutions for recruiting women. Most studies exploring the challenges of recruiting women to ICT focus on conventional routes with career decisions made at high school. Here, however, we explore a much less studied phenomenon, which is women pursuing unconventional routes into ICT education and ICT work at a later stage. Based on in-depth interviews with 28 women working with ICT, the analysis illustrates how a majority of these women have found alternative routes to ICT, including a delayed entry into ICT education, a natural progression into ICT due to digitalization of non-technological disciplines, and pursuing opportunities arising as non-technological competences are increasingly valued in digitalization. These less conventional routes illustrate women’s professional development as motivated by processes of digitalization and the recognition of a wide set of professional fields and competences needed in ongoing digital transformations. Relying on entry points less affected by masculine stereotypes, the women contribute to new ways of co-constructing gender and ICT in the new digitalized workspaces.
Women working in information, communication and technology (ICT), more than women in many other occupations, are under a double pressure: as a minority in a male-dominated professional field, and as women in a ‘greedy’ and 24/7 work environment where the ‘ideal worker’ is still shaped according to a male norm involving less responsibility for childcare. This study explores how women in ICT in the gender-egalitarian culture of Norway negotiate the relationship between work and family responsibilities. The analysis builds on interviews with 22 women working in ICT in research, development and innovation across diverse sectors in Norway in 2017–18. Most of these women experienced that their career development required private support and that and work–life balance solutions, including publicly available childcare, were insufficient. Rather it was the partner’s predictable and less greedy work patterns, not work–life balance policies targeting women, that enabled the women to combine ICT work and family responsibilities.
Despite the ongoing digitalization producing many jobs in rural areas, the recruitment of women into ICT remains a critical challenge. This chapter analyzes the entanglements of the global trend of digitalization with the locally enacted structures of gendered working and living in a rural region of western Norway based on professional-life narratives of 25 women working in ICT. The analysis explores the types of ICT workplaces the women found and the characteristics of working life in the region including the importance of concepts such as ‘place-belongingness’ and the ‘idyllic rurality’. The increase of ICT workplaces in this region has provided opportunities for women to find less traditional work in the region. The findings suggest that the ongoing digitalization across sectors has opened up a particular type of ICT work opportunities that attract women to ICT jobs in the public and private secondary ICT sector. This contributes to a new gendering of ICT work as it includes organizations and industries where ICT expertise is not already occupied by men or images of masculinity.