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!

Advertisements

Your thoughts wanted

To celebrate womenintechnology’s fifth birthday next month, we want to hear from you! As always, your opinions are important to us, so we want to hear what you think about women in IT today and over the next 5 years. We’ve put a survey of 5 questions together so it should only take 5 minutes to fill out.

So when you’re taking a quick coffee break, click here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Z2L6GV6 and tell us what you think. We’ll be publishing the results in a couple of weeks so check back here soon. Thanks!

Diversity in IT – your free report

At womenintechnology.co.uk we often get asked to participate in new research or comment on particular issues. I was recently contacted by Forrester who were putting together a report on diversity in IT. As a thank you for putting them in touch with the womenintechnology network, they have offered us access to free copies of the report. It is US focused, and you’ll have to register, but it’s a quick (and free!) process and it’s an interesting read that reinforces many of the things that we have been saying.

I especially liked the idea of changing the language of job descriptions to attract more women, and to use more competency based interviewing, which allows interviewees to highlight their soft skills and give examples of how they have tackled a particular situation (allowing employers to separate those who really can walk the walk from those who can just talk the talk.) Both these things would help female candidates who are generally not as good as men at selling their skills and abilities.

To read more, download your free copy of the “Fostering A More Diverse Infrastructure And Operations Department” here: www.forrester.com/womenintechnology.

Clever Decision Making

We’re looking forward to our next event, “Clever Decision Making”, which is taking place next Tuesday 27th October in London. Ahead of the event, we surveyed the female technologists that signed up, about their thoughts on decision making in the workplace. Here are some of the findings:

• 55% of women thought that they influenced their manager’s decision making well or really well. However many also cited convincing and influencing management as their biggest challenge with regards to decision making in the workplace.
• The majority (88%) enjoy making decisions and being responsible for them
• When asked about their main difficulties with decision making, another common answer was having the confidence that their decision was the right one, and making this decision quickly and effectively.
• 52% said individual judgement was more important than company policy when making a final decision

As always, we got some great comments too. A few of them are below:

• “I do often find it difficult, after weighing up the positives and negatives of each, to feel confident about the decision I’ve made and always wonder ‘what if?’ with the other options – I’d like to be less hesitant.”
• “I have to know everything before I am comfortable making a decision”
• [Challenge is] finding the key decision maker – getting them to say ‘yes’ and once they say ‘yes’ getting the follow up and key steps committed.
• “it is one of the biggest challenges in decision making – not getting swayed by the person that is better at putting his / her point across.

It’s great to see that the majority of the women we surveyed feel positively about something that so many people struggle with. What is really interesting is how many of the respondents commented that they wanted to make sure they had all the information and had considered all options before they made a final decision. This is a prime example of how women are less prone to taking risks than men, another reason why a gender balance is so vital to a successful team.

“Clever Decision Making”, which we’re co-hosting with Bank of America, will be held at the Merrill Lynch Financial Centre in London on 27th October. The keynote speaker is Julia Thrul, Founder of V.G.L. Ltd and there will also be a panel Q&A and networking session. It promises to be a great event so book your place now here! Hope to see you there.

Women vs women

It has certainly been a busy week when it comes to female related news. So many things have caught my eye that I have wanted to blog about, I don’t know where to start. So I’ll start at the beginning!

I saw this article in HR magazine saying that over a third of young female employees suffer from bullying at work. This abuse ranges from excessive monitoring to insulting remarks and two thirds of the women affected said the bullying came from more senior women. At first I found this shocking, but then I recalled some quotes we’ve had over the years from women who have faced problems, not from their male managers, but from female colleagues, and realised that maybe the problem of women vs women is more prevalent than we thought. So I pulled out some quotes from female technologists that we have surveyed over the last couple of years that have touched on this issue:

  • “The biggest obstacles that I have had to face have all come from women, not men. Some women see it as their solemn duty to bully, bribe, undermine, tease and generally obstruct in any way possible a woman who chooses a technical career. This starts in junior school and continues all the way to the boardroom! We need action to re-educate the ignorant section of the female population that it is not a threat to their femininity if some girls choose this career path.”
  • “As an ambitious single woman in a technology company, I sometimes get frustrated by the extent to which some working mothers are carried by their peers.”
  • “Female managers who do not have family are often ‘worse’ than men towards the needs of mothers.”
  • “Most women senior managers have come up the ranks making enormous personal sacrifices and see no reason why the rest of the female population cannot do the same.”
  • “[Men and women’s leadership] styles differ totally! Generally much easier to work for a man!”

Of course there are lots of women that have faced problems from male colleagues too, especially in IT as it’s such a male dominated field. But it struck me how many women were working against each other, when in fact female solidarity is crucial if we want to work together and break the glass ceiling. We need more positive female role models, encouraging women and helping them, not providing yet another obstacle.

Have you experienced a tough time from a female manager? Share your experiences – and your words of encouragement – here!