Here are some numbers to ponder:

Though IT remains largely a male-dominated realm in the United States, women are now believed to constitute 15% to 25% of technical professionals - though women's ranks in management are about only 8%.

Women in ITThat's the kickoff of Ellen Messmer's NetworkWorld article on where women stand in IT today. It's an interesting read not only for the outnumbered women on IT teams but also for their male teammates.

The bad news:

There's troubling evidence that some high-tech firms are pushing highly educated female workers to the brink of burn-out in a business atmosphere that expects round-the-clock hours, is brutally dismissive of family life and marginalizes them in a sea of highly educated men.

One study found that "a third of the women in IT had decided to delay having children in order to achieve their career goals, while 18% of men indicated the same. And for the sake of their jobs, 9% of the surveyed women decided to forego children completely, compared with 3.5% of men." While work/family issues trouble both men and women, it's clearly the women who are troubled more.

More bad news:

In some parts of the world, the idea of women in traditional male job roles is simply rejected in business - by men at least. This means when women IT professionals walk into such situations, they find themselves treading gingerly - often using male associates as cover, making them the main presenters of ideas they would otherwise be the first to express.

Still, Messmer's article is ultimately uplifting: She profiles women who have made it and are eager to share their advice on how women can get ahead in the IT business without having to make any more compromises than their male colleagues. 

-- Don Willmott