Encouraging Women’s Leadership in the IT Academic Landscape of Mauritius


The IT industry in Mauritius is undergoing rapid evolution, playing a pivotal role in propelling economic growth and fostering innovation.
However, a persistent challenge remains: the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions within the IT academic landscape. In this article, we will explore the importance of promoting and encouraging women’s leadership in the IT academic sector of Mauritius.
By removing barriers and empowering women, we can create an inclusive environment that encourages innovation and drives progress.

Underrepresentation of Women in IT Academic Leadership

The IT academic landscape in Mauritius continues to witness a significant gender imbalance in leadership positions. Statistics and data reveal that women hold a disproportionately low number of leadership roles compared to their male counterparts.

Reports indicate that women account for less than 20% of academic department heads, deans, and other high-level administrative positions in IT academic institutions in Mauritius. Furthermore, their representation in key decision-making bodies, such as academic boards and committees, remains minimal.

Implications of Underrepresentation

The underrepresentation of women in IT academic leadership has several implications for the industry. Firstly, it hinders the inclusion of diverse perspectives and innovative solutions. Gender diversity in leadership fosters a variety of viewpoints and approaches, leading to greater creativity and problem-solving capabilities. Without adequate representation, the IT academic sector in Mauritius may fail to leverage the full potential of different perspectives, resulting in a limited range of ideas and strategies.

Additionally, the gender imbalance maintains a shortage of role models and mentors for women aspiring to enter the field.  When women are underrepresented in leadership positions, it becomes challenging for young women to envision themselves in similar roles and pursue career advancements. This lack of representation hampers the aspirations and ambitions of female students and professionals, leading to a limited talent pool and a loss of potential future leaders.

Moreover, the gender gap in IT academic leadership reinforces gender biases and stereotypes. It perpetuates the perception that leadership positions are more suited for men, creating barriers for women to access opportunities for professional growth and advancement. These biases create an environment where women face unfair obstacles in their career progression, resulting in a lack of diversity and inclusivity within the academic sector.

Strategies to Encourage Women’s Leadership

To address this gender imbalance, it is crucial to implement strategies and best practices that promote women’s leadership in the IT academic landscape of Mauritius. Some of the effective approaches include:

  • Promoting Mentorship and Sponsorship Programs: Establish mentoring programs that connect experienced women leaders with aspiring female professionals. Sponsorship programs can provide visibility, advocacy, and support from influential leaders within the IT academic landscape.
  • Implementing Inclusive Hiring Practices: Ensure fair and unbiased hiring processes with an emphasis on creating diverse candidate pools. Use gender-inclusive language in job descriptions and actively seek out qualified women candidates for leadership positions.
  • Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women: Create a level playing field by providing equal opportunities for women to access leadership roles. This includes transparent promotion criteria, leadership development programs, and gender bias-free performance evaluations.
  • Establishing Networking and Support Groups: Foster collaboration and empowerment by creating networking and support groups specifically for women in the IT academic landscape.These groups provide mentorship, knowledge sharing, and the opportunity to build supportive professional relationships.
  • Encouraging STEM Education and Careers: Create outreach programs and initiatives to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM education and careers.Engage with schools, universities, and communities to provide mentorship, internships, and scholarships that encourage female students to enter the IT academic field.

Success Stories and Best Practices

Highlighting success stories of organizations and academic institutions in Mauritius that have successfully promoted women’s leadership in the IT academic landscape is crucial. Sharing their initiatives and strategies can serve as inspiration and provide guidance for others. It is also essential to identify and share best practices that have proven effective in encouraging women’s leadership, including policies, programs, and cultural shifts that have positively impacted the representation and advancement of women in leadership positions.

Personal Journey

In this personal account, I will share my journey as a young researcher pursuing a doctoral degree and the challenges I have faced in securing a teaching or academic job. Despite being well-qualified, I have encountered gender bias in the IT academic field where institutions seem to prefer male IT lecturers. This narrative sheds light on the struggles I have experienced and the urgent need to address gender disparities in academic hiring.

The Passion for Research

From an early age, I developed a passion for research and a deep interest in the IT industry. Motivated by a desire to contribute to knowledge and make a positive impact, I embarked on my doctoral journey with enthusiasm and dedication. Armed with the necessary qualifications and a strong academic background, I was confident that my expertise would open doors to fulfilling teaching and academic positions.

However, as I delved deeper into the job market, I soon realized that gender bias was a significant obstacle standing in my way. Despite my qualifications and accomplishments, it became apparent that institutions had a preference for male IT lecturers. It was disheartening to witness the gender disparities in hiring practices, which perpetuated a cycle of limited opportunities for women in academia.

Qualifications and Competence Overlooked

I found myself repeatedly overlooked for positions in favor of male candidates with similar or even lesser qualifications. Despite my strong academic record, research contributions, and teaching experience, it seemed that my gender overshadowed these achievements. The frustration of being judged on gender rather than merit was dispiriting and demoralizing, casting doubt on the fairness of the academic hiring process.

Impact on Career Prospects

The gender bias in academic hiring has had a profound impact on my career prospects. It has limited my access to teaching positions and hindered my professional growth and advancement. The lack of representation of women in IT academic leadership positions further exacerbates the issue, as it deprives aspiring female researchers of role models and mentors who could provide guidance and support.

The Call for Change

The prevailing gender bias within academic institutions necessitates a call for change.
Universities and hiring committees should acknowledge the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the IT academic field. By ignoring qualified female candidates, institutions are not only perpetuating gender disparities but also missing out on the valuable perspectives and contributions that women can offer.

Promoting Gender Equality in Academic Hiring

Establishing a supportive and inclusive environment that values diversity in IT academia promotes innovation, collaboration, and overall growth.

Breaking Barriers and Inspiring Change

As a young researcher navigating these challenges, I remain steadfast in my commitment to breaking barriers and inspiring change.
I strongly believe in the power of collective efforts to challenge gender biases and create a fairer academic landscape.
By sharing my experiences and advocating for gender equality in hiring practices, I hope to contribute to a future where young women researchers are judged solely on their abilities and given equal opportunities to thrive in the IT academic field.

The Way to Move Forward

Moving forward, sustained collaboration among stakeholders, including educational institutions, industry leaders, policymakers, and women themselves, is essential. Sustainable progress requires collective efforts to address barriers and create a supportive ecosystem for women’s leadership. Allocating resources and support for initiatives aimed at encouraging women’s leadership is crucial for their long-term success. Engaging in advocacy and awareness campaigns to challenge gender biases and stereotypes is also necessary to promote the value of women in leadership roles and highlight the benefits of gender diversity in the IT academic sector.


My personal journey as a young researcher pursuing a doctoral degree has been marked by the harsh reality of gender bias in academic hiring. In spite of being well-qualified and passionate about my field, I have faced significant challenges in securing teaching or academic positions. It is crucial for institutions to address this gender disparity, recognizing the value of diversity and promoting inclusivity in IT academia. By doing so, we can create a future where gender will no longer be a barrier to success, and young women researchers will have equal opportunities to contribute their talents and expertise to the field.

By implementing these strategies, sharing success stories, and fostering a supportive environment, Mauritius can create opportunities for women to thrive in leadership positions within the IT academic landscape. This will not only contribute to gender equality but also lead to enhanced innovation, diversity, and overall growth in the industry.

Chitisha Gunnoo

Researcher & Global Ambassador – WomenTech Network Mauritius

The harsh reality of gender bias in academic hiring has marked my journey as a young researcher pursuing a doctoral degree. By empowering women in IT, I have created a future where gender will no longer be a barrier to success, and young women researchers will have equal opportunities to contribute their talents and expertise to the field in Mauritius.

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