UNIVERSITY OF MAURITIUS
FACULTY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
BSC (HONS) COMPUTER SCIENCE 2018/2019
CSE 1016Y-COMMUNICATION AND BUSINESS SKILLS FOR IT
DEVELOPPING A MOBILE APP TO ADDRESS THE GENDER DIVIDE IN THE IT SECTOR OF MAURITIUS
STUDENT: HOOSRA OUMEIRA BEGUM
SUBMISSION DATE: 25TH APRIL 2019
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is meant by the term gender divide?3
Proofs of the gender divide in IT sector in Mauritius3
Some causes behind such gender gap 4
Why should this problem be addressed?5
Some Solutions to lessen the gender gap: 5-6
Why a mobile application can address this issue? 7
The gender divide is a challenge and is still an ongoing one in basically all spheres of life. At home or at work, there has always been a superiority of gender that prevailed. Even today, the gender divide is a pressing issue. However, it would be erroneous to compare the gap in this generation to the ancient one since somehow according to (Twiss, 2017), significant milestones towards the attainment of gender equality have been achieved. Our concern here is the gender gap that prevails in the IT sector of Mauritius and a diagnosis of this issue will shed light on its causes and why a mobile application can address this issue.
What is meant by the term gender divide?
The (Global Gender Gap Report, 2006) states that gender inequality is a result of the persistent discrimination of one group of people based upon gender and it manifests itself differently according to race, culture, politics, country, and economic situation.
Inequality between women and men persists in global labor markets, in respect of opportunities, treatment and outcomes (IMF, 2016). The phenomenon of low female participation in the economy does not leave Mauritius indifferent. (NPCC, 2018).
Proofs of the gender divide in IT sector in Mauritius
As reported by the (Gender Statistics, 2017), both men and women opt for accounting as a subject of further studies (23% and 24% respectively). Information Technology was the second subject taken by men (16%) followed by Administration or Management (15%) and Engineering (11%) and as for women, Administration or Management has been their second alternative (16%) followed by Education (9%) and Banking/Finance (6%). It is apparent that women did not bother much in taking Information technology as a second or third option to study.
Also, the (Gender Statistics, 2017) states that women were under-represented in science related fields such as Engineering (2% against 11%) and Information Technology (5% against 16%) whereas men were under-represented in Education (4% against 9%) and Languages (1% against 5%).This shows that while men took information technology, women preferred languages and humanities.
If we consider a previous report, the (Gender Statistics, 2016) as well, reports that Information Technology was the second most popular subject for men (16%) followed by Administration/Management (15%) and Engineering (12%). Administration/Management was the second choice for women (17%).
Additionally, women were underrepresented in science related fields such as Engineering (2% against 12%) and Information Technology (6% against 16%) whereas men were underrepresented in Education (4% against 9%) and Languages (1% against 5%) as stated by the (Gender Statistics, 2016). So again we can conclude that women did not cater much in taking IT as a career.
Some causes behind such gender gap:
As per the quantitative analysis by (NPCC, 2018), 68% of women believe that there is a lack of women friendly environment at the workplace.
A survey reveals that 50% of respondents are of the view that women lack skills and competencies to be marketable in the labor force. (NPCC, 2018).
As per the qualitative analysis by (NPCC, 2018), in the education arena, the stereotypical gender roles have a great impact on girls choices for their study subjects. Girls tend enroll in stereotypical female subjects.
In Mauritius, the business career path poses particular difficulties for women with family responsibilities, reported by (NPCC, 2018).
A lack of women in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a cause since they are mostly focusing on the humanities and language subjects instead. Schools lacking practices in classrooms and laboratories is a large factor in keeping girls education in STEM subjects at its low level.(Borgen,2018)
Unemployment: In 2015, around 47% of women of working age were in the labour force compared to 75% of men. Female unemployment rate stood at 11.6%, much higher than the rate of 5.5% for male. (Rosnay, 2017).
Why should this problem be addressed?
According to (Roy, 2017) ,bridging the gap of the gender divide will mean that both womens and mens rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Women contribute to the economy too. According to the (Global Gender Gap Report, 2013), it is seen that women are becoming more educated than men.
Also, a gender diversity in the field of work will increase business performance. Diversity brings together varied perspectives, produces a better analysis of the issues a company faces and stimulates greater effort, leading to improved decision-making. (Clapon, 2016). Nevertheless, women indubitably contributes to the economy of a country, stimulating growth.
Some Solutions to lessen the gender gap:
It is proposed by the (NPCC, 2018) to enhance womens capabilities and assets through training, adequate careers guidance and entrepreneurial incentives and by leveraging on ICT.
A Workshop on Empowering Women through ICT was carried out on 13th June 2018 Cyber Tower1, Eb?ne. The workshop highlighted on encouraging more women to work in the ICT sector of Mauritius. In fact, in terms of women employment in IT in general, it has been found that while 3 out of 4 technical jobs are held by men, the gender gap is even more significant when it comes to cybersecurity.
As we are all living in a generation surrounded by technology everywhere, it lies incumbent on the government to ensure that children as from primary schools are taught how to use technology by which they may start liking this subject. As well as in colleges, especially girls colleges, Computer related subjects can be made compulsory. Authorities should ensure that computer devices are functioning correctly in laboratories and more training could be provided to teachers to ensure that students get a better overview of the subject.
Girls acquiring a degree in Computer related subjects do attend interviews but are often under-estimated because even males have a degree and that posts like software engineers, Programmers or even technical jobs are usually deemed to be male-dominated positions. A solution would be that companies should recruit a certain or maybe an equal number of males and females (best candidates of both sexes).
Bias thinking is always present. Culture and norms are often barriers that restrain women to work in companies at odd hours but men are always working till late. Families or partners should try to cope and encourage females in the family to take the job and even companies should provide transport and security facilities. Also, what is the purpose of working overtime?-To submit a project on a deadline. So even if women are not able to do overtime, it should be okay if they complete it at home and submit or even attend conferences online as a form of teleworking.
The government should be promoting girls increased engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Just like we have ACCA courses in Mauritius, we could also introduce IT related courses additionally to empower women of how they could use computers to start a business. In other words, we should expose them to profound aspects of this arena and train them how to deal with changes in technology. They should be aware that IT related positions are not monotonous since updates are always on the way.
Presently women workers reckoning less than 12 months of service are not entitled to payment of a remuneration during their 14 weeks of maternity leave. Government will therefore amend the Employment Rights Act to allow payment of a remuneration for those mothers reckoning less than 12 months service (Budget2018-19, 2018). This facility may encourage women more to work and take their leave as well for family responsibilities.
The ongoing Smart City Project at Jin Fei is a potential opportunity for women to get recruited when the project launches tomorrow.
Recruiting companies should review job descriptions and job requirements and make sure that they dont favor one category over another. They should as well set quantitative recruitment goals to support gender equality. (Clapon, 2016). Along with, companies should Offer the same rewards for the same work, regardless of a persons gender.
Concerning the working environment, workplaces can be designed in such a way to promote gender diversity, thereby females feel bit more comfortable at work.
Why a mobile application can address this issue?
A mobile phone is not only an entertainment device but is a tool for empowerment also. Women install 40 percent more apps than men, buy 17 percent more paid apps, and pay 87 percent more for those apps, reported by (Koetsier, 2013).When we are talking on gender gap we are talking about the disparity in the number of females employed to the number of males recruited.
A mobile application may be useful as it is easy to download. Anyone could use the app to check for updates or anything new or in demand. The app could target the female population more. Developing a mobile application to attract more females in the IT sector of Mauritius will:
Allow women to be more exposed to job opportunities and career guidance. Whenever there would be vacancies in companies, women may be informed quicker.
Help females to enhance their knowledge about the requirements of the IT sector.
Enrich their skills that they think they do not have. For example, coding skills.
Allow women to participate in teleworking that is they can submit any pending work from home when they connect to their respective jobs.
Attract other women in the field if the application enable a feedback system about the current job females undertake.
Resolve gender issues that may arise at work, for example any complaints can be brought forward on a platform or forum in that application.
Motivate women to go for higher posts if the application provides learning facilities as a training. In this way, they would get to learn at their own pace and work at the same time. Their skills at work would be sharpened and they may apply for promotions as well.
When companies look for temporary employers on a contract basis whenever they fall short of staff or they need more staff for a particular event, they just have to advertise through the application. Half of the tests can be conducted through the mobile application and only a selected number of candidates can be called for further interview. It is important to point out that companies should hire a distinct number of females as well. This should form part of its policies.
A mobile application can also notify employees about forthcoming events so that they may start preparing themselves especially women folk who can organize their work beforehand.
Brittany Twiss, 2017 WOMENS RIGHTS THEN AND NOW [online]available FROM: [last accessed 23rd april 2019]Global Gender Gap Report, 2006. World Economic Forum, Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland.Availablefrom: [Accessed 23rd April 2019]
Gender Statistics, 2017 Statsmauritius.govmu.org [online].
Availablefrom: [Last accessed 24th April 2019]
Gender Statistics, 2016 Statsmauritius.govmu.org [online].
Availablefrom: [Last accessed 24th April 2019]
NPCC, 2018 promotingfemaleparticipation2018 [ONLINE] Available from: [accessed on 24th April 2019]
Borgen,C.,2018 Gender Equality in Mauritius | The Borgen Project [online].Available from : [accessed on 24th April 2019]
Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation – Workshop on Empowering Women through ICT, 2018 [online]. Available from: Balance: a key issue in Mauritius and a great challenge for businesses | Home | Dynamia Associates & Developers,2017 Home | Dynamia Associates & Developers[ online].Available from : 2013 Battle of the mobile sexes: Women install 40% more apps, spend 87% more than men[online] Available from : P., 2016 heres why you should encourage gender equality in your company [online]. Available from : [accessed on 23rd April 2019]