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Women makes IT industry more competitive

Published: 21 March 2013

IT industry needs to hire more women in order to maintain its competitiveness. In universities, women are rare in senior positions, including in the IT field. The lack of women in IT industry and in leading positions in academia is something that Professor Ylva Fältholm and project manager Paula Wennberg would like to change.

Ylva Fältholm and Paula Wennberg at Luleå University of Technology both work in a project where researchers will develop tools and methods that helps to create equal opportunities for women and men when competing for senior positions and funding of research projects.

Today EU invests 25 million to increase awareness of gender issues.The project Genovate, where Ylva Fältholm and Paula Wennberg works, is part of that effort. Luleå University of Technology is one of seven partners in the EU project. Focus for LTU researchers is on IT and technology. In Genovate LTUs Centre for Distance-spanning Technology (CDT) collaborates with researchers in the field of work science and with global IT consultancy company Sogeti, the IT industry Council in Luleå and EARMA, an EU network working with EU funding issues.

- At LTU, we have worked a long time with gender issues in the academic world and now we focus on the IT industry, says professor Ylva Fältholm. To be aware of gender related issues when recruiting people is important. For IT companies, a generally increased awareness of
gender issues are necessary, if the company wants to strengthen its competitiveness. Take for instance the product development process – with more women involved in the process you´ll also have access to women's desires. That increases the companies chances to develop a product that attracts both men and women. Today women who educate themselves in IT are to few and that of course also shows on the job market.  

An app to ensure that project leaders and other involved in the launching of a new project  - from when the project is rigged, when applying for money, and throughout the whole project time - takes into account the gender perspective, is an example of a concrete tool that helps businesses and organizations who want to attract women. The app, developed by Paula Wennberg, contains a checklist to ensure that the gender perspective is included in all phases of a project.