Women in CIO Positions in Canadian Higher Education

Last summer, as part of the Master of Education program I’m taking from OISE at the University of Toronto, I wrote a paper about the state of women in Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions in Canadian higher education. I looked at the research literature and interviewed a number of women about their experiences and aspirations.

Later this week I’m presenting the paper at CANHEIT, the national higher education IT conference (sponsored by CUCCIO – the Canadian University Council of CIOs).

Here’s the introduction to the paper and the presentation:

Of the 51 universities belonging to the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers (CUCCIO) currently [in 2012] only 10 of the CIOs are women. Given the relatively high percentage of women in information technology (IT), approximately 40% of the IT workforce, why are relatively few (18%) attaining the most senior IT role?

This paper investigates the challenges, barriers, and opportunities of women in leadership roles in information technology in Canadian universities. The findings of the research literature are amplified by interviews with those in the field. Interviews were conducted with three women: a former CIO, a current CIO, and a senior IT manager with aspirations to be a CIO. In order to gain a broader view of emerging trends, the Executive Director of CUCCIO (herself a former higher education CIO) was also interviewed.

The paper will identify systemic barriers and present recommendations for personal and organizational initiatives to promote senior technology leadership for women in Canadian higher education. While more women are attaining CIO roles in Canadian universities than ever before, this positive trend is confounded by the continuing negative consequences of stereotypes and other significant career obstacles.

For those interested, here are the full paper and the slides from the presentation:

Women in Chief Information Officer (CIO) Positions in Canadian Higher Education: Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities: Research Paper | CANHEIT Slides


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