This is the first blog I have written for CRN under my new guise of consulting editor, and I'm delighted to be working closely with editor Doug Woodburn and his editorial team on this important Women in Channel campaign.
As some of you may know, I spent over 16 years working at CRN until 2017 when I went freelance; 10 of those as editor/editorial director; and I deliberately didn't want to run anything like this because the timing was just not right. We would not have done it justice.
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry, I had (and still have) mixed feelings on the subject, and I felt that many of the campaigns I saw over the years actually did more harm than good. They were often both patronising to women and unhelpful to men. Quite a combination.
But now, with the government initiative that forces firms with over 250 employees to publish gender pay data coming out tomorrow, and what I feel is a maturing of the debate around this sensitive subject, the time is most definitely right.
And I am honoured to be both part of the judging panel, and the editorial team, on this initiative.
There is no question that channel boardrooms are dominated by men, and we all know this needs to change. But I still don't agree with change for change's sake.
Women and men have to earn their places on merit, not gender.
What we need is a rethink of the whole issue from grassroots level. Why aren't there more girls going into IT and taking STEM subjects at school? What can be done to encourage them to consider this brilliant industry as a viable career choice? There are so many roles, yet there are simply not enough female candidates in the mix.
The main questions I always ask are: Why do women still doubt their own abilities? Why are so many women paid less than men for doing the same roles? Why are there still so many old-school attitudes to women out there (and believe me, I have seen it far too often)? Why are women often penalised for daring to have a family and then trying to return to work? How can we avoid positive discrimination?
Things are definitely changing for the better. For one, the discussions are far more inclusive, and it is an issue that everyone I speak to wants to address in their respective companies.
An important point to make is that there are many companies out there that are already addressing these issues, and doing a very fine job in the process. But it is happening very slowly.
A diverse workforce is a far more productive, creative and generally fun environment to be in. Everyone should be able to succeed, regardless of gender, race or beliefs. Providing the best service to customers is all that should matter in business, and without a happy, diverse workforce, that task is increasingly more difficult to execute.
I am looking forward to speaking to many inspirational women in our industry over the coming months, and also hearing the male point of view on this subject. I am also excited to read the entries to CRN's Women in Channel Awards, and discussing the issues with a fantastic judging panel (see more here).
We need to work together to tackle this important issue and CRN's campaign is a great starting point to do that.
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany