The factors that influence women to choose and pursue a career in the IT sector: the case of Estonia
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Estonia as well as the rest of the EU is struggling to find enough IT specialists. It is estimated that by 2020, the EU will have 500,000 of vacant IT positions which has a hindering effect on the economy that is moving towards more digitalization. Women are under-represented in IT roles and the inclusion of more female IT specialists could offer a solution that is both contributing to the development of the IT sector and the economy as a whole. A larger participation of women in IT roles could also decrease the pay gap that Estonia has and support gender equality. This focus of this thesis was to find out which factors enable women to choose an IT-career. The research question was the following: what are the main influential factors that have encouraged women to choose a career in IT? In order to identify the enablers, eleven women were asked about their journey to IT including which aspects influenced their career choice and when the choice was made. The analysis of the responses was done by identifying the emerging narratives and themes as well as considering other research on the same subject. Gender and IT does not have a strong theorization as an academic discipline, however, some authors have used social constructivism to provide the frame in which to work in. Social constructivism was also used in this thesis and it was complemented with decision theory as well as gender-focused theories. The results of the analysis suggest that the choice that leads to an IT-career is often made young and that it is influenced by many social and internal factors. Practical tasks and positive feedback was mentioned several times by the interviewees as an enabling factor. Social relations were another influencing aspect in finding the way to IT. Curiosity and grit were also enablers that help women working in IT.