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Scholarship to increase number of women in ICT

A new Women in Technology Scholarship has been established by mission-critical technology solutions provider, Kordia, at the University of Waikato.

As reported, the scholarship aims to address the gender imbalance in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

An award of NZ$ 5000 towards their tuition will be given to the successful applicant. Moreover, they will be likely offered an employment with the company upon graduation.

Possibly, they can also be employed at the company’s independent cyber security division, Aura Information Security.

The ICT industry has been dominated by men for too long. While the picture is slowly changing, it could do with a bit of a boost.

In establishing this scholarship with the University, the company is taking another small step towards encouraging women to get involved, further their studies, and eventually join a challenging, fast moving and rewarding industry.

Among the objectives of this Scholarship include acknowledging and supporting up-and-coming female talent and future technology leaders.

Also, it is a part of the company’s initiative to increase the number of its female employees.

Scholarships like this play an important role in promoting IT and technical subjects to women considering their study options.

The company has shown its commitment to diversity in their workplace through this initiative.

Historically, women have played key roles in multiple disciplines within the ICT sector. Ada Lovelace, for instance, is considered the world’s first programmer.

She played a crucial role in the conception of the first computer, Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

In more recent time, however, it has become an overwhelmingly male-dominated field especially when ICT jobs moved away from the perception of clerical work attached to it in the 1970s and 1980s.

Statistics New Zealand confirms that nearly 80% of the ICT workforce is male. Furthermore, figures from the European Union show that out of all ICT specialists, only 16.7% are women.

A recent report from a consulting company, titled ‘Women in ICT: Perspectives and Perceptions’, notes that less than 20% of the Australian ICT workforce is female.

This gender representation is further reduced at senior levels.

Data reporting website European Data Journalism asserts that the problem begins in education. Its analysis of the number of females in ICT studies in the EU is roughly 20% that of males.

The imbalance is undeniable. It can be seen in ICT company offices across New Zealand and across the world. But the company is working to make a difference.

Female students studying in their final year of undergraduate degrees offered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering or the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University are eligible to apply for the bursary and must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

Applications for the first scholarships are open, with a closing date of 2 December 2018.

The selection criteria include assessment of academic performance with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) aptitude.

Scholarship selection will be made by a Selection Panel comprised of the University’s Chair of the Scholarships Committee.

There are also representatives from the company and the University who form the Scholarships Committee collectively.

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