Women Employed in the IT Sector: An International Comparison

This is the first of four posts in our Women and IT Scorecard - India series. This post provides an international comparison of the data on women employed in the IT sector.

Source:   World Bank Enterprise surveya,  NCWITb, and BCSc

The low, and often falling, participation rates of women in IT has been a matter of international concern for some time. Many countries in the West are seeing a decline in the number of women participating in the tech sector. As the chart above shows, Western countries such as the UK and the US fall on the lower end of the spectrum of the proportion of  women employed in the tech sector.

According to the Women in Tech: The Facts report from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) the US has witnessed a continual decline in the number of women working in the IT sector. The percentage of women working in the sector dropped from 36% in 1991 to 24% in 2015.

The situation in the UK has not been as drastic. Instead of a continual decline, it has experienced a stagnation in the number of women in sector. In the period 2005-2015 the percentage of women in the sector has fluctuated between 16-18% according to the annual publication Women in IT Scorecard by the British Computing Society - Women.

The trend in India is in contrast to the decline in the US and the stagnation in the UK.  According to a 2016 joint NASSCOM-PWC report entitled Making Diversity Work the number of women in technical roles in the IT-BPM sector has seen a continual growth to 34%. This number is double that of US and UK; and shows a significant growth in six years from the estimated 21% according to the 2011 Indian National Sample Survey.

What lessons can be learned from India? How can India maintain its position as one of the leaders in recruiting and retaining women in tech?  We hope to answer these questions through our research.  Look for the more details on this topic in the forthcoming Women and IT Scorecard – India, to be launched on February 28, 2017.



a World Bank Enterprise Survey. The chart was compiled using latest data in the survey database.  The country and year of the survey are as follows:  Brazil 2009, China 2012, India 2014, Mexico 2010, Russian Federation 2012.

b The source for the US data was the 2016 update of the NCWIT report Women in Tech: The Facts.

c The UK data is from the BCS Women in IT Scorecard 2016.

d NASSCOM-MERCER report Gender Inclusivity in India


(@Gunjan Sondhi)

February 01, 2017

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