The IT industry/profession presented a challenge. They clearly identified that they need more women and more women leaders. Unfortunately,the situation still remains the same. Women leaving IT is increasing and women taking the computer/business courses needed, is decreasing. To prepare for these courses, students must take advanced math and need to start in grade 8 or 9, so they must start to make decisions in grade 7. In addition, the educators – teachers, guidance counsellors and Principals – are often unaware of careers in IT or the true nature of IT as are the giirls' parents. There are also many misconceptions and perceptions.
‘Future Leaders in IT' is a part of a proactive solution created by MVJ Group Inc. It is an interactive, multimedia PDF e-magazine, to interest more girls in careers in IT by educating them and their influencers – the teachers, guidance counsellors, Principals and their parents.
The teachers’ response was overwhelmingly positive for this pilot project. They asked what more was planned, such as leadership resources and education about other non-traditional and unknown career choices. And what is top of mind today – trying to attract more women into leadership roles and into non-traditional careers?Further research illustrated that many industries needed help attracting girls. The government’s Status of Women is focused on it. Many non-traditional industries are conducting their own research and creating programmes to interest women in their businesses, but the success rate is not good.
The answer is clear. We need: more interactive, multi-media e-magazines for the girls; an official digital resource for the educators; and business sector involvement to provide many of the resources. We need to bring business and education together to help the girls. Relationships need to be built. Schools prepare the girls for the rest of their lives, but with new careers, unknown careers and ever-changing careers, trying to keep abreast of all the opportunities available to the girls today is a staggering challenge.
Presently, we are working with a charity trustee which allows us: to apply for funding from foundations and governments; to continue creating and growing; and to apply for charitable status. It is a long journey, but the girls and the educators can’t wait – neither can the Canadian economy.