Gender and Australian IT Industry
Lorraine Staehr (La Trobe University, Australia), Graeme Byrne (La Trobe University, Australia) and Elisha Bell (Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australia)
Copyright: © 2006
From its very beginnings in the post second world war years the information technology (IT) industry in Australia has exhibited gender stereotyping with the relegation of women to lower paid and lower status jobs. Unfortunately the words of Game and Pringle (1983) are as true today as when they were written more than twenty years ago: The sexual division of labor is not a remnant from the feudal past that is gradually being eliminated, but is a fundamental structural feature of capitalist society. (p. 81) The first IT projects were funded by the military when IT had a mathematics or science image. Neither of these characteristics was likely to make an IT occupation attractive to women. However some women were employed by small IT consultancies wanting to save money because in the 1950s in Australia, women were only paid around 75% of a male wage (Game & Pringle, 1983, p. 84). Opportunities arose for women to move into the IT industry in the late 1960s due to a skills shortage. However this had little long term impact as today women are still under-represented in the industry.