Fourteen per cent of leadership roles among the top 50 resellers in the UK, are held by women. This is according to research conducted as part of CRN's Women in the Channel project.
While the research suggests that women take up a minority of leadership roles in the channel, some argue that this doesn't matter because the recruitment process should be about finding the right person for the job, regardless of gender.
Sarah Lellow (pictured left), founder and director of Reciprocal, said she would never hire anyone based simply on gender, and it is all about who is the best fit for the company.
"In this industry you have to be intelligent, and you have to be strong," she said. "You can't say ‘I'm a women and it's not fair, it's all men', you just have to get your head down.
"If I was interviewing and it was a man and a women, I wouldn't go, ‘you know what, she's in a man's world, maybe she'll do really well'. I would look at their CVs, look at their personalities, and see who was the best fit for the job."
Lellow added that while she thinks the amount of women working in the channel should be discussed, the industry shouldn't force the issue with quotas or targets for women in leadership roles.
She explained: "You shouldn't force the issue. It's about who has the right skills and personality to help grow the business. They should be the one to get the job, whether they are male or female. You can say we need more women, but they may not be able to do the job.
"I think it should be based on individual merit. It doesn't matter if you are wearing trousers or a skirt."
A gender equality report by Lord Mervyn Davies, commissioned for the UK government in October 2015, found that in 2011, 135 of 1076 directorships in the FTSE 100 were held by women. That had increased to 26.1 per cent of directorships in 2015, and the report set objectives that FTSE 100 companies should have 33 per cent of board positions held by women by 2020.
However the report stressed that legally enforced quotas were unnecessary because it said the increase of women in those roles was happening naturally.
8x8's sales director Sharon Maslyn agreed that she doesn't think quotas are the right thing for the channel.
"I don't see that as being the right thing for the industry. It is about hiring the right person regardless of gender," she explained. "I have massive targets to hit so I always have to think about the best person for the job."
Joy Gardham, head of Western Europe at Brocade, however, said that if she sees candidates that all have the same skills sets, she will actively choose the candidate where she feels the company is under represented.
"If I have a line of candidates and they are all equally as good as each other, I will choose the candidate where I am under represented. We need to be conscious of the benefits of having women in the workforce, and the benefits of a diverse team," she said.
But she stressed that this doesn't mean she thinks women should have any allowances made for them simply because of their gender.
She added: "I don't have any allowances made for me, nor would I ever expect or ask. I have earned my right to be in this position, and I am more than happy to stand up and take as equal a share of the responsibility as my male counterparts. I would personally be offended if I was asked to put a programme in place that treated women differently. They are equally every bit as capable as their male counterparts."
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