Stereotypes must be squashed for female engagement in IT sector to increase

working women use phones and point pen at  data
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Jordan’s IT sector has a “humble” number of female employees, but that is not discouraging as there remains a glimpse of hope for more women to join the sector, according to Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems at the University of Jordan Mohammad Abushariah.اضافة اعلان

His comment came in response to Al-Ghad News’ publication that female workers take up only a third of the IT jobs in Jordan, according to the business development manager at the ICT Association, Zain Asfour.

This is despite 51 percent of graduates from IT schools at Jordanian universities being female according to statistics released by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship.

The “job market should align with the graduates’ numbers”, Abushariah added but suggested that the numbers might be lower amongst women because of perceptions that they do not suit a sector known for long working hours.

Perceptions of IT being an industry not suited, or at least less suited, to women were highlighted by Hasan Al-Zu’bi, acting director of the National Center for Innovation (NCI) and IT manager, who said, “the nature of the IT jobs, where some jobs require the employees to stay online around the clock ... is something women cannot always do.”
I encourage women to go for IT jobs, since they can sometimes take their work home and the job is flexible.
Jaber Suleiman, ICT developer at UNICEF, added that “there are more men in IT departments than women,” adding that he believed that management at many organizations “look at whether the woman is single or married, taking into consideration maternity leaves which hinder companies’ work at times”. However, he said that most women specializing in IT tend to work in the data science field as programmers, a job requiring patience, continuous effort, concentration, and can be completed from home.

Abushariah told Jordan News that in his former role as a consultant for an international IT company, he never noticed any discrimination between women and men in terms of the salaries or job positions, adding that he was encouraged to see that many women held leading positions and surpassed men in their experience in the sector.

He indicated that many of the University of Jordan’s top graduates are women, excelling in their majors. But to increase the number of female workers in the sector, he suggested that IT companies expand their work to other governorates in Jordan rather than focusing mainly on Amman, or to allow remote working. 

Raghad Sharif Amro, a third-year student at the University of Jordan, majoring in computer science, said that she hoped to specialize in mobile apps after graduation since she would be able to work remotely. She told Jordan News that she took online courses to increase her chances, but added that she had never been invited to awareness campaigns related to the IT job market.   

Rawan Abusnaneh, a front-end web developer at Rhinosoft, urged women to go into the IT sector. She told Jordan News that “ I encourage women to go for IT jobs, since they can sometimes take their work home and the job is flexible.”

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