Why is Women in channel/tech an important issue for you and your firm?
Female representation increases diversity within organisations, which increases innovative thinking, as well as the talent pool to draw from. Additionally, it can impact the bottom line - research even indicates that a lack of diversity can impact the bottom line, with businesses ranking as less diverse than their counterparts producing less revenue. There are multiple ways that diversity and female representation can be encouraged including working with the education sector, increasing awareness of women in the channel and creating strong networks for women providing support and advice.
How do you think we can get more women into technology?
The gender gap in technology often starts at school and carries on throughout each stage of life. While parents, teachers and guardians are often great influences in encouraging girls to pursue a career in the sector - the channel sector could be proactive in engaging with girls early on in their education. For example, businesses could work with local schools directly to support both in-school and out-of-school programs - either through after school clubs, having guest speaker events and offering work experience opportunities.
Although education lays the foundation for increasing gender diversity in the sector, highlighting female role models in the industry is also an important factor that could make a difference. For women to consider a career in the industry, seeing equal representation is a major motivator.
Women in the industry often find it difficult to name a female role model who inspired them to pursue a career in technology. A survey by CW Jobs found more female STEM workers were aware of the fictional Sheldon Cooper than real-life female STEM workers. I believe that in a digital age, one where we are more easily connected than ever before, the opportunities and possibilities are endless, it's about understanding how to access them and making the potential a reality.
What do you think should be done to enable more women to rise through to the more senior roles in the IT sector?
Tackling stereotypes, unconscious bias and gender discrimination needs to be a top priority for the industry. Businesses need to act quickly and fairly on any reports of gender discrimination - to make clear that it will not be tolerated in any form. The first step to doing this could be to work with HR departments to create a workplace culture that welcomes and champions diversity and inclusion and make it clear to all employees that such policies are in place.
Also, women across the sector need to step up and become vocal about the career opportunities and benefits in the channel. It is ultimately the responsibility of those of us who work in the industry to highlight the significant contributions that women have made to it - and showcase the possibilities of a career in our sector.
We should also be encouraging internal mentorship programs or participate with external ones can be the perfect opportunity to provide guidance and invaluable advice to those at every stage of their careers.
What is your one piece of advice for younger people looking for a career in the IT sector?
A diverse pool of experience, backgrounds and people are needed to contribute to fresh ways of thinking about creative concepts - something that industries such as ours need. It is for these reasons that I urge and encourage women and young girls to consider a career in our sector and why I believe that breaking down barriers, assumptions and established practises is fundamentally important to securing our future.
Currently, of the STEM companies listed on the FTSE-100, only 16 per cent have achieved the Davies Review target of 33 per cent of their boards being made up of women. Whilst this may seem like bad news, there is always a silver lining. By the standards of earlier decades, this represents a huge step forward and is a major achievement - furthermore, government data shows that in 2019, the number of women in core-STEM occupations reached one million. We have already achieved so much, and we can continue to make many more positive changes.
Ultimately, for women looking to start a career in IT or wider STEM fields, it is vital to remember that what matters is your drive, passion and perseverance to pursue and reach your goals despite any challenges you might face.
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