Paths to Inequality: Women and Men in the IT Workforce

Mark Wardell, Steve Sawyer, J. Mitory, S. Reagor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we present findings about the work-related differences among professional women and men information technology (IT) workers in the United States. To better understand these as gender-related differences, we adopt an institutional standpoint and theorize that the organization of the workplace, post-graduate training and education, and family characteristics largely shape the work-related outcomes of men and women in the United States IT workforce. Drawing from interviews with 2823 professional IT workers employed in the United States, we report five findings. First, women are nearly two-and-a-half times as likely as men to leave the professional IT workforce. Second, men and women work similar hours and have similar commute times. Third, no significant differences exist between men’s and women’s types of post-graduate training and education. Fourth, women take more unpaid leave and for longer periods than do men. Finally, women are paid significantly less than men. We conclude the “pipeline” approach to redress the under-representation of women in information technology fields fails to anticipate the significance of women’s experiences once they enter IT jobs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-160
Number of pages8
JournalEncyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology
StatePublished - 2006


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