Why attend Women in the IT Channel? Because typically in IT and technology-based organizations, there aren’t three or more women at the table in business meetings. And in fields where women are still emerging, it’s valuable, perhaps even critical for them to get to know each other, to create networks of contacts and support. That’s what celebrations like the ‘Women in the IT Channel Recognition Lunch’, hosted by Computer Dealer News are all about.
You might ask, isn’t that just old school feminist thinking? Consider this research from the Richard Ivey school of business & Wellesley College that supports why having three or more women at the table changes the dynamics. The researchers studied Boards of Directors with varying numbers of women and concluded: “The magic seems to occur when three or more women serve on a board together. Suddenly having women in the room becomes a normal state of affairs. No longer does any one woman represent the ‘woman’s point of view,’ because the women express different views and often disagree with each other.” Are we there yet to have three women at the table in IT organizations, the IT Channel or Technology sector? Not in my observation.
As a young woman working in marketing applied electronics, I joined professional associations: the Canadian Farm & Industrial Equipment Institute (CFIEI) and the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association (CAMA). At the annual CFIEI conference, I was surprised to discover I was one of only three women in a room of 200. The three of us literally met each other in the women’s washroom at the break. Then we met for coffee. And together started a connection that expanded to other women we knew or met in the broader industry, forming an informal network known colloquially as the ‘CAMA Broads’. Some of us, myself included, went on to industry leadership roles, becoming Presidents of CAMA, and forming long-term professional friendships.
So what does this story have to do with us in 2013? Recently, I spoke with a young women computer scientist, who had exactly the same experience of being one of only three women in a room of 200 at a technology industry professional function — in 2013. So, yes - there’s still lots of need to meet each other, to network, to encourage others to join us. To take our place at the meeting tables (as well as the Boardroom tables – but that’s another topic).
I look forward to meeting you at the ‘Women in the IT Channel Recognitions Lunch’. Please introduce yourself!