Unconventional routes into ICT work: Learning from women's own solutions for working around gendered barriers

June 2022
Bristol university Press

After decades of research, we knowLearning from women's own solutions for working around gendered barriers. quite a lot about factors excluding women from ICT, but we are still short of effective solutions for recruiting women. Most studies exploring the challenges of recruiting women to ICT focus on conventional routes with career decisions made at high school. Here, however, we explore a much less studied phenomenon, which is women pursuing unconventional routes into ICT education and ICT work at a later stage. Based on in-depth interviews with 28 women working with ICT, the analysis illustrates how a majority of these women have found alternative routes to ICT, including a delayed entry into ICT education, a natural progression into ICT due to digitalization of non-technological disciplines, and pursuing opportunities arising as non-technological competences are increasingly valued in digitalization. These less conventional routes illustrate women’s professional development as motivated by processes of digitalization and the recognition of a wide set of professional fields and competences needed in ongoing digital transformations. Relying on entry points less affected by masculine stereotypes, the women contribute to new ways of co-constructing gender and ICT in the new digitalized workspaces.