It started with a casual conversation at a CIO luncheon held in conjunction with IASA's annual meeting in Las Vegas in June. Although there were an equal number of men and women at my table, ours was the exception. Most of the other tables were occupied primarily by men. Not surprising in an industry traditionally populated by men, I mused aloud. The discussion between my tablemates that followed became fodder for this month's cover story: a focus on six unique women who embody what it takes to occupy an insurance technology leadership role.No one could argue that there has been a dearth of women occupying such roles. The National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT), a Boulder, Colo., organization that supports women's participation in professional IT careers, reports that although women represent 46% of the U.S. workforce overall, they held only 32% of computer and information systems management positions from 2004 to 2005 [U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) population survey]. "This is slightly higher than the aggregated average for women's participation among all computer-related occupations (29%) but significantly lower than their participation in professional management positions in general (51%)," a NCWIT spokeswoman told INN.

Nevertheless, demand for technology management is increasing. According to DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of both male and female computer and information systems managers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014.

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