A company in Northwest Arkansas recently hosted 40 girls from an area high school for a five-day Girl IT Up summer camp on computer programming. Six women from the company’s information technology department shared their experiences of working in IT with the participants.
The premise behind the camp was to introduce girls to and get them interested in a career in information technology. A news article about the camp cited two interesting statistics. 1) Women make up only 25 percent of the nine million people nationwide working in 13 computer-related occupations. 2) Women received 12.9 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science in 2011-12.
After reading the article, I took a look at the girl power present at DIS. The most recent agency demographics available were from 2011 when nearly 40 percent of DIS employees were women. In creating a mental picture of our organizational chart in my mind, I believe that ratio still closely exists today. As the premier provider of information technology products and services for Arkansas state government, it was a point of personal pride to learn that DIS is way ahead of the national curve in the percentage of women it employs.
Women encompass a variety of roles at all leadership levels at DIS. Women lead the fiscal division, customer relations division, communications department, Arkansas Wireless Information Network, Arkansas Continuity of Operations Program, human resources department and other areas. They also represent a wide range of knowledge, skills and abilities from the highly technical to the creative.
DIS applauds the efforts of organizations taking steps to introduce young women to the field of information technology. These endeavors could ultimately pay dividends to DIS in its ability to recruit future IT talent and enabling it to at the forefront in the percentage of women present in an IT-centric workplace.
To perpetuate the focus on women in IT, DIS will soon conduct a week-long social media campaign spotlighting one of the dozens of talented professional women at the agency. Each segment will provide a snapshot of her role in carrying out the DIS mission of providing technology leadership and solutions to assist the agency’s customers in their delivery of public services to Arkansans.