Career vs Family life

I recently came across an article in HR magazine claiming that more than a third of women do not think they can meet their career goals while still paying enough attention to their personal lives. We recently blogged about the lack of women on the board of UK firms – are the two connected?

Kenexa Research claims ‘traditionally, women play a larger role in managing their family responsibilities and, therefore, they are likely to feel pressure in trying to balance both work and family demands’.  Kenexa carried out a survey of over 1000 employees asking for their views on work-life balance; just over fifty per cent believed their employers supported their efforts to balance both their work life and personal life. Does being successful both in the workplace and at home depend then on the support you get from your employer? Read the rest of this entry »

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The future of women in IT


There is some great technology out there but unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future (hopefully a female technologist will invent one!) However if we did have one, we’d use it to see where women in IT would be in the future.

A report by the Government Equalities Office says that almost two thirds of UK businesses are missing out on female talent and suffering as a consequence. It also revealed that if we continue at the current rate of progress it will take 60 years for there to be an equal number of men and women in senior roles! If the government has recognised that this needs to change (which it seems it has with Gordon Brown saying there are too few women in Britain’s boardrooms), then shouldn’t we be doing more about it?

In our recent survey we asked our female technologists what they thought would happen to women in IT over the next five years – we got some interesting and different answers:

  • Shortage of new entrants because Science and Technology is not popular in schools, not seen as a girl-thing.
  • More women in very senior roles.
  • I think the number of women will increase as the younger generation is very much the digital native generation; however the level to which it increases relies on our intervention now.
  • They will continue to lead & be innovative but will not always get credit for it or equality of pay.
  • There will be more in the industry, more start up IT businesses with women CEOs.
  • One respondent simply said “not much”.

Which crystal ball prediction do you agree with? And what would you like to see done to give women in IT a boost?

Pay and recognition

Not only is today Internation Women’s Day, it’s also the fifth birthday of womenintechnology.co.uk, so we asked the women in our network what their ‘birthday wish’ for women in IT would be. The top answers were: a closing of the gender pay gap, more respect and more support in the workplace from both employers and fellow employees.

One respondent said “[I wish] that people would assume [women in IT] have interesting, innovative and strategic thinking without them having to work so hard to constantly establish credibility”. Another said she wished that women would “support each other rather than compete”.

The needs of working mums were also addressed with calls for women to be openly recognised as doing a great job even if in part-time work, as well as for more workplace benefits options surrounding things like childcare. Other wishes were for more role models for women in IT, more women in senior IT positions and for women to trust their own skills and abilities more.

As one respondent pointed out, it has been 40 years since the Equal Pay Act and although we’ve made progress we still haven’t closed the gender pay gap, so that’s definitely a big hope for the future. These results show that we still have a way to go until women are on a par with men in the IT world but what’s great is that these ‘wishes’ are realistic ones that are within our reach. Since womenintechnology was established five years ago women have made great advances in the sector. We’re looking forward to the next five years and what will happen next!

Leadership in Challenging Times

Get rid of the boys’ club attitude!

That was the main message from female technologists at our recent event – Leadership in Challenging Times. Held in association with WeAreTheCity, the event was hosted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in London and had a great turnout – thanks to everyone who attended!

As always, we asked attendees to answer a few sign up questions before the event, and as always we got some interesting and informative responses. The main message to come from the female technologists was that to increase female leadership we need to get rid of the boys’ club, appreciate diversity and support more flexible working. Here some other key findings:

  • 68% of attendees considered themselves to be a leader within their organisation
  • 93% agreed that men and women’s leadership styles differ
  • 63% believed that communication skills are the most important core competency for authentic leadership

When we asked the attendees what businesses could do to increase the number of female leaders, many said there needed to be more education in the workplace about the variations in men and women’s leadership styles, and that these differences should be embraced. Flexible working and coaching / mentoring were other popular suggestions to increase female leadership. Here is what a few women had to say:

  • “Discourage stereotypes that make women feel they need to behave like men in order to progress”
  • “[We need] awareness and identification that women lead in a different way and a better understanding about what women can bring to the table”
  • “Find a way of making family and business needs work in tandem rather than against each other
  • “Introduce mentoring and coaching within organisations, without a doubt. The culture of some organisations needs to shift from the competitive to the collaborative.”
  • “I consider myself a leader but struggle to be in a leadership position due to the nature of my male dominated organisation”
  • “Re-train male and female core competencies to all execs.”
  • “Get rid of the boys’ club attitute to promoting and hiring. Most people promote people like them – there needs to be more of an objective approach to promotions.”

Do you agree with these women? Are these the right steps to be taken? Would they improve the number of women in leadership? Leave your thoughts here!