Getting more women into technology-based fields has been a focus nationally and in Iowa in recent years. If the South by Southwest Interactive conference is any indication, progress is being made, according to this Bloomberg article. 


About 25 speaker sessions at the tech-heavy conference in Austin, Texas, are about women in technology, five times more than last year.


The uptick reflects what the conference's attendees wanted this year, as panels are chosen through a crowd-sourced selection process. Hugh Forrest, the symposium's director, told Bloomberg that he welcomes the trend after years of having a policy requiring panels to have at least one woman.


Still, it's an uphill climb, as about 74 percent of U.S. workers in computer and mathematical occupations last year were men, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and for companies backed by venture capital, the proportion of female to male executives is two to nine, according to a Dow Jones VentureSource report.


Locally, leaders have identified getting more women into technology as a key to filling the gap of qualified technology workers. The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) honors women in technology each year with its Women of Innovation awards, and has developed programs specifically to get K-12 girls interested in technology jobs.


"It's about dispelling those myths that Dilbert created," TAI President Leann Jacobsen said in a 2012 Business Record article.