Rebecca Richards
September 8, 2021

Promote one another: three ways we can turn more women into IT leaders

Wow. Let me start with that. What an honour to be shortlisted for Role Model of the Year at the CRN Women in Channel Awards.

It’s a fantastic feeling to be nominated alongside so many inspiring women. But it’s just as exciting to be recognised and put forward by my colleagues. I would encourage everyone reading this to nominate someone who deserves it for an award in the future. Because the recognition is an amazing feeling.

For me, the fact that these awards exist is a great format for recognition and raising awareness of the gender imbalance we still see in our industry.

I’m proud to say that we’re going in the right direction at Westcoast Cloud. Women make up 38% of the workforce here, so we’re making progress. It’s also a pleasure to go to work every day with so many capable and driven women at different stages in their careers.

But we know that there is still plenty of work to be done. Men outnumber women across the wider industry, and it’s still the case that women are underrepresented in senior roles.

But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future. More young women than ever are studying technical subjects at school.

We also need to remember that keeping women in our industry is just as important as attracting them to it. Half of women call time on their tech careers by age 35.[1] Why? A lack of progression and inclusivity.

So, what more can we do to keep talented women in tech and enable them to reach their potential?

I’ve got three ideas.

1. Pull each other up

When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. This is no time to pull up the drawbridge.

No matter how much advice we give and receive, or how many times we shout about our achievements, actions will always speak louder than words.

We can all be more proactive in advocating for other women in our industry. This could be nominating them for awards and recognition or offering and seeking out mentorship.

And this goes for everyone – men and women across all levels, roles, and departments. The tech world is ever-evolving, and the more skills we learn and teach others, the more we can all offer to our colleagues, our clients, and our industry.

2. Learn from our industry leaders

Even if you’ve got a great line manager, you don’t have to take all your inspiration and lessons from them. Look further, and you’ll find powerful female voices out there talking tech.

For instance, I’ve never met Helen Tupper or Sarah Ellis, but their Squiggly Careers podcast has helped me take control of my development and make my voice heard.

3. Celebrate our successes

Women are less likely than men to showcase their achievements.[2] Unnecessary modesty is holding us back.

We need to talk about what we do well. And even if we don’t do it for ourselves, we need to do it for the women around us. Workplace victories should be shared with shout-outs in newsletters, monthly meetings, or just daily catchups.

I’d love to see more places for us to share our achievements outside the office too. Like inclusive social occasions and women-led networking events. The more platforms we have to shout about our achievements, the better.

So, what do you think? I’d love to hear about how you’re boosting the profile of women in your business.

[1] CNET

[2] Harvard