Why aren’t women using the Internet at work as much as men?

Women lag behind men with technology at work according to new research by the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Workingmums.co.uk explores why there is a gender gap in such an important part of the working life.

Women lag behind men with technology at work according to new research by the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. Workingmums.co.uk explores why there is a gender gap in such an important part of the working life.

Is there a gap?
Yes, there is. Women are failing to harness the power of the Internet at work, according to the BCS. At a time when increasing numbers of people use the Internet and information techonology to enhance production at work, it’s clear that not everyone is benefitting equally from having these resources.
More than half of women (54%) told a poll they regarded the Internet as an invaluable source of information. But this compares badly with men – more than two thirds of men (67%) said they viewed the Internet as invaluable at work. And men also led the way in adopting technologies to improve efficiencies at work. Almost four out of ten (39%) men claimed to use mobile technology for work in the form of smartphones or other devices, in comparison to just 13% of women.
Access to technology in the workplace was also more prevalent amongst men – a quarter of men said they’d participated in an online seminar or meeting at work, compared to just 11% of women.

Why?
”There is a technology gender divide in the workplace,” agrees Elizabeth Sparrow, president of the BCS, The Chartered Insititute for IT. ”I think it reflects the fact that women are not properly achieving their full potential at work and aren’t moving into more senior roles where the use of ‘work’ technologies is even more vital. It is a general symptom of the fact that women don’t always get as far in their careers as they might otherwise have done.”
But the statistics from the survey show there is also room for improvement when it comes to men using the Internet as an aid to help performance in the workplace. ”The figures for men need to go up as well,” said Sparrow. ”There is definitely room for improvement.”

What can be done about it?
A new initiative has been launched by BCS. The Savvy Citizens campaign, http://savvycitizens.bcs.org, is designed to increase the use of the Internet at work and in helping people to find work. The project provides blogs, resource lists and other materials to help people find out how information on the Internet can help them get the most from work, including tips on how to use office software and browsers more effectively, how to use free online tools to collaborate more easily, and how information and the Internet can help you achieve a better work/life balance.
”We live in an information society where information and Information Technology permeates every aspect of our lives,” said Sparrow.  ”Our campaign highlights the importance and relevance of information, so that everyone can use it to get the best advantage.  It’s very important that organisations such as ours provide help and assistance – we have got the ability to make this information readily available for everyone in a way so it is readily accessible and usable.  An enormous pool of information is available at your finger tips - it is a great leveller.  
”Our site is very much aimed at the general Internet user and designed to help them derive the greatest use possible.  At home, people can use it to raise their knowledge and confidence in using technology.  There’s a huge amount of information on fulfilling your own potential and issues such as starting your own business.  The use of the Internet for online shopping is very high in this country – in other areas it is low.” 





Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *