Making a difference for International Women's Day

On International Women’s Day the OU reveals how it aims to make a difference for women in crucial areas of the workplace where women are poorly represented.

Gender, Skilled Migration and IT; a comparative study of India and the UK is wide-ranging and significant research project investigating the lack of women working in highly-skilled roles in the UK’s IT sector, contrasting with the employment scene in India. Women represent just 11% of the workforce in the UK’s IT industry (with little having changed in 10 years). Yet look across to India and that number rises to 30%.


Professor of Geography and Migration Parvati Raghuram, and co-investigator Dr Clem Herman, senior lecturer in computing and communications are leading the research. They are confident it will be different to existing research in this area and will have real impact.

A lot of people are concerned about the low numbers of women in tech in the UK. Employers, educators, policymakers are all puzzling over why can we not recruit more women in the IT sector as a whole. It is time we brought new thinking to this problem.

Prof Raghuram says the results will be fed back to industry, policy makers and education spheres. Plus they are working with key industry leaders and organisations, including doteveryone, the campaign headed by the OU's Chancellor, Baroness Martha Lane Fox, to to increase the numbers and retention of women in technology jobs in the UK.

Baroness Lane Fox said:

We really need to put women at the heart of the technology sector so I applaud this important research which can help us understand why there is such a gender imbalance in the UK’s IT industry. Ultimately I hope it will help us achieve a cohort of female coders, designers and creators who can help transform the UK and give us that much-needed global edge

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This project is part of the OU’s research in International Development which is working towards a fairer, more sustainable world. Read more about the OU’s research in International Development.  It also aligns with the overarching aim of supporting women in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ties in with the OU’s own STEM commitment.

This commitment is boosted by the launch of an innovative new toolkit designed to help women (and others) kickstart their STEM career. Reboot Your STEM Career is a comprehensive, in-depth toolkit to help users relaunch their career using a purpose-built action plan. Activities are designed to support efforts to return to the STEM sectors and include areas on CV compiling, knowledge of the industry and peer stories among other resources.