For a while now, there have been a variety of attempts to increase the number of women pursuing IT careers. Many of these initiatives start early by targeting and encouraging young girls to explore – and hopefully develop an interest in – technology. There are girls-only technology clubs and camps geared at providing girls with a comfortable, confidence-building atmosphere in which they can learn about technology.
Scholarships, career days and bring-your-daughter-to-work events offer additional opportunities for girls to develop an interest in pursuing technology careers. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs within schools – or even charter schools specifically founded to focus on a STEM curricula – are popping up in communities.
There are additional initiatives in the workplace to help hire, develop and retain women in IT careers. Among them are mentorships in which women already in IT work with other women (and girls) to encourage them to explore IT careers and further train and develop them to advance within their organizations or in the IT job market in general.
While these are valuable programs, there is more work to be done – and it starts within every company.
Bryan Glick’s Computer Weekly blog, “To every male IT leader – it is your responsibility to get more women into IT,” delves into this important avenue that can grow and support the number of women in IT careers.
It is an imperative for male IT leaders to take this challenge on themselves and set an example within their organizations to hire more women for IT roles. This top-down management approach has the potential to begin a wide-spread initiative throughout the organization and can play a tremendous role in providing women with IT opportunities. This level of executive buy-in can serve as an example to middle management to not only place women in IT roles, but to also develop, nurture and expand plans to further enhance this objective.
Peak 10 has several women in senior leadership positions, and efforts are in place to recruit more women into technical roles as well. However, it can be challenging to find women who are pursuing IT careers. I know over time this will change. My hope is that male leaders within the IT sector will continue to recognize the value that women bring through the diversity of their ideas, and proactively foster programs to attract and develop women in technical positions.
Gender diversity has tremendous potential to improve organizational performance. The unique set of skills that women bring to the table can complement the skill sets of male counterparts. Women also play an important role in influencing technology purchases in the market place. They should have a seat at the table to help innovate, develop and market the very technology they are purchasing.
The IT environment is progressive in many ways, and has a lot to offer women. I thrive on the change and innovation of the technology sector, and enjoy the challenge of keeping up with new capabilities. The culture at Peak 10 – and within many technology companies –provides this perpetual challenge as well as a greater life-work balance than is often found in other industries.
The technology world has a lot to gain from including more women. It is in every business’ best interest to capitalize on the diverse and valuable skills that women bring to the table. With the right focus and attention, male IT leaders can fuel this shift.