ITx 2018 Conference Programme

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Divers IT y: Putting Gender on the Agenda

Wednesday 12:20pm - 12:50pm, CITRENZ Conference (Upstairs 1 (Signal))

Diversity creates a more productive, creative and dynamic society, with the Information Technology (IT) industry being one that offers opportunities for innovative, challenging, collaborative, and creative careers.

While the diversity issue is not just confined to gender, the low representation of women in the IT industry is at the forefront of many diversity discussions. Statistics show that women only represent approximately 22 per cent of the tech workforce, with the literature suggesting several reasons for the under-representation of women in IT.

While there are many strategies and initiatives that try to address diversity issues in the IT sector, there has been little change in participation levels. This paper reviews the literature surrounding diversity issues and the gender imbalance in IT sector, and discusses approaches currently in place to encourage girls and women to consider a tech career as well as retaining them in IT education and IT roles.


Sarah Snell

Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Sarah has extensive experience working within the tertiary education sector in a variety of academic, management and leadership roles.

She is an Academic Specialist for Information Technology, Information Systems and Library Studies in the Learning Design and Development Directorate at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. She has a Doctor of Science Education, a Master of Management, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration, a Bachelor's degree in Applied Information Systems, and a Teachers Diploma in Information Technology.

Sarah's research focus is applied in nature and her main research interests are professional and soft skills for ICT graduates, connecting students with industry, gender and diversity in the ICT sector, and students' perceptions of mobile learning environments.

Catherine Snell-Siddle

Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Catherine is an Academic Specialist for Business and Enterprise in the Learning Design and Development Directorate at the Open Polytechnic of NZ. Catherine was awarded a Doctor of Science Education in 2013 from Curtin University, Australia. She also holds a Master of Business Studies, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration, a Bachelor of Business Studies and a Diploma in Tertiary Teaching.

Catherine's research interests span the two disciplines of information technology and business within the tertiary education environment. Research outputs include the effects of mobile technologies on learning environments, gender issues in ICT, ethics and social responsibility, professional practice, soft skills requirements, and ways to engage academia with industry.