- Los Angeles city officials are taking concerted efforts to increase the number of women hired for government IT positions, Government Technology magazine reports. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Ted Ross, general manager and CIO of the Information Technology Agency, say they recognize the importance of recruiting more women to fill IT spots.
- According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women in IT positions have declined from 36% in 1991 to 25% in 2015. Additionally, more than half leave these jobs within 10 to 20 years. In late 2014, Garcetti conducted a diversity audit of the city government's departments before issuing an official directive to create a coalition to address gender equality the following year. A target was set to make sure half the IT management workforce was female by the end of 2016.
- An active recruitment campaign attracted the likes of Jeanne Holm, former NASA employee and part of the advisory committee for President Obama’s Open Data Initiative. Promotion from within, along with leadership development training, has prepared other women for IT leadership roles with the city.
Overwhelming evidence proves that diversity is good for business and for the IT world. According to a 2016 study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the presence of women in leadership roles correlated positively with profitability.
The problem is finding the talent that either has the right skills or has the potential to grow into IT leadership roles. Some of this can be attributed to the use of one-size-fits-all leadership training programs that are either vastly out of date or that do not address the unique challenges that women leaders face.
Yet much of it has to do with the problematic culture of large tech firms (especially those in Silicon Valley). Various women in the tech space have come forward in 2017 to discuss the sexual harassment they've experienced while trying to move up in the industry.
The city of Los Angeles has not only taken into consideration the effort it requires to both promote from within and recruit more female role models; they've developed entire campaigns around this goal. This success story is also good news for large companies in nearby Silicon Valley, where executives also seek to make a bigger goal out of recruiting and retaining women in IT leadership roles.