Be politically savvy and smash the glass ceiling

We all know about the glass ceiling and all the challenges that women can face in the workplace. And we all know that there are a lot of things in politics, business and society that need to change to break down these obstacles. But let’s face it – these are big issues! And they’re not going to change overnight.

So, the question is: what can we do to help ourselves climb the career ladder?

This is just one of the questions that W-Tech aimed to answer. One workshop aimed to help attendees by informing them how to become more politically savvy – ran by Michelle Brailsford from Jupiter Consulting Group, the workshop gave a useful insight into how to become more of a political ‘animal’. 

A survey that womenintechnology carried out last year showed that 77% of female technologists didn’t feel that they had the sufficient skills to manage politics effectively in the office – with over half saying they’d been a victim of sabotage or labelling. Handling office politics is obviously a big issue for female professionals, so we’ve put together a white paper based on Michelle’s presentation which will hopefully be of use! To get your hands on a free copy, just click here.

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Women in IT dream of being the boss

When we held W-Tech back in June (wow was it two months ago?!) we asked all the female techies that attended, a simple question: “what is your dream job?”

Almost 400 women answered the question and we got a wide range of interesting responses. The results showed that the majority (about 14%) all gave an answer to do with being the boss and reaching the top, whether this was being an entrepreneur or a CIO. With the fight against the glass ceiling and the struggle for more flexible hours continuing, it’s no great surprise that women in the IT industry are reaching for these goals.

  • Project management was also a popular choice with 12% of the women surveyed opting for this
  • 8% opted for consultancy
  • 7% said they would like to help people, with answers including “taking IT to schools in Africa” and “coaching and mentoring”
  • 6% mentioned that their dream job would involve a better work / life balance, with less travelling time and more flexible hours.
  • Encouragingly, over 10% of the women said that they were already doing their dream job!

Some answers were more intruiging – dream occupations included animator at Pixar, professional blogger and education minister. Others decided that they’d ditch IT altogether and become a comedienne , cruise liner DJ or a bakery owner!

Check out some coverage of the survey here.

What would be your dream job?

Do women damage the bottom line?

I recently came across an article that I read with interest – as it goes against much of the research and most of the opinions that I’ve come across!

According to the London School of Economics and Political Science, having more women on a board can improve governance as women are better at monitoring and more likely to attend meetings. However it also says there is a correlation between firms with more female board members and low profitability, which “suggests in well-governed companies, governance could have a negative effect.”

So basically this research shows that because women are more efficient in their work, organisations are suffering? Surely this signals that corporate governance needs to be re-assessed, not that women damage profitability! Besides, research from McKinsey actually shows the opposite – that the companies with more women at board level actually perform better financially.

It’s always disappointing to read pieces like this which just seem to add to the struggle for diversity. Of course we can’t generalise too much but on the whole, women do bring different skills to the table and organisations genuinely do benefit from having more diverse teams – not only in gender – but in age, race, background and so on. Let’s hope that the business world recognises this and doesn’t pay too much attention to this report!

Mengagement

It seems that we’re making another step towards gender equality – or is it just a money making scheme? According to the Telegraph, male engagement rings are the latest trend sweeping the UK, with more and more consumers wearing the jewellery. Jeweller H Samuel has apparently almost sold out of their male engagement rings.

There are many different opinions on this subject – many are sceptical and say that it’s just another way for companies to make money. But if the demand is there, then why not? Weddings remain very traditional affairs and it’s only to be expected that these customs will evolve, so what’s wrong with making them more equal? As Dr Susan Speer, senior lecturer in psychology at Manchester University says: “I think it’s a good thing – it evens things out. It’s certainly not a sign of emasculation. Why should it only be women who wear a symbol of their commitment?”

What do you think – will the new trend catch on? Or is it just another fad?

Sexism in the City

 

With a growing number of sex discrimination cases in the City, the Treasury Select Committee is launching an investigation into gender inequality in the financial services sector.

According to the Telegraph, John McFall, chairman of the committee, said: “At a time when pay and corporate governance are key issues in terms of redrawing financial regulation, the committee feels it is important to highlight the issue of gender equality in the financial services industry. We hope our inquiry will provoke an important debate about the representation and treatment of women in the City.”

Banks and financial institutions are being asked for information and evidence on three areas: pay inequalities, flexible working practices and sexism. Banking is a sector that, like technology, is very male dominated, and many commentators have questioned whether the credit crunch would have happened if there had been more influential women in the institutions. It is very encouraging to see that this action is being taken and hopefully the findings will lead to some positive developments being made.

Chocolate for a year?

It sounds like a dream come true for many, but scientists from the University of East Anglia are looking for female volunteers who are willing to eat chocolate every day for a year.

The researchers want to find out whether chocolate can cut the risk of heart disease and need 40 women to help. Some will have to eat specially designed extra strong chocolate and others will eat regular chocolate as a placebo.

As the saying goes, if you think it’s too good to be true, it probably is. The criteria means that many willing volunteers won’t be eligible – you have to be menopausal and under the age of 75, with type two diabetes. But if you fit that description, then what are you waiting for?!

New Interview!

Read my latest interview with thenextwomen.com about womenintechnology.co.uk and gender issues in IT here.