This is a guest post by Indra Dosanjh
If you are a woman in technology perhaps you too are pondering this question? I am astounded at the low ratio of women at technology events. I am even more astounded by the recent report, Women @ Work – Sound bites and statistics from women who lead by Women 2.0 on gender representation at leadership levels in business. The lowest levels of women being found in the technology sector and in corporate boardrooms. According to the report, 40 per cent of corporate boards are female-free, and just 25 per cent of the technology industry are women. This infuriates me!
When I started in the technology industry over 30 years ago, I never for once believed that women would remain a minority three decades later in the 21st century! What is wrong with this picture?
I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In out of curiosity to see what women leaders a decade younger than myself are thinking but also, because my daughter was reading it. I love this book and I love Sheryl for using her clout to set the record straight! I am truly relieved there are indeed progressive role models for my daughters to aspire to. A major take away from Lean In for me is that managing gender biases and stereotypes is everyone’s business and it starts at home with both men and women learning to adapt to the social and economic challenges of our time.
I grew up with the backdrop of the feminist era started by thought leaders like Germain Greer, Gloria Stenheim and others. To assert your self in the 80s and 90s was putting yourself in the box of a being a feminist with some rigid thought beliefs. Women of my generation all too often chose to take on male attributes to survive and succeed in the workplace. Any feminine traits like showing a tear or compassion in the work place was seen as a sign of weakness.
I applaud initiatives like #40Forward by Google for Entrepreneurs and Startup Grind to host accomplished women entrepreneurs to come out and share their successes! The interest in these themes has taken off and now, in Toronto, Startup Grind has already hosted two Female Funders and Founders theme events, Michelle Scarborough (NACO) last June and Daphne Kis (Golden Seeds) this past January.
It is time for women to “show-up” and be visible, damn it! For #womeintech in Toronto I hope to see you there at Startup Grind TO Hosts Annelies Van Den Belt (DC Thomson Family History).
Here is the infographic from Women 2.0: