This March ARA New York will host a thought-provoking event pioneered by our Chicago counterparts two years ago. Though it might look like a typical panel discussion to many, “Women in Tech: The Male Perspective” is already stirring up early debate and buzz. It’s evidence, I believe, that we can count on a lively, dynamic discussion on March 18th in New York City.
The event is a chance to explore the challenge of forging more IT opportunities, influence and leadership roles for women from the perspective of men who have worked and advanced in the technology industry. As the moderator of a panel of IT industry executives (all male), I am excited to pose some of the questions I am often asked as a female IT executive to male counterparts. I want to hear how and where our viewpoints and experiences align and diverge.
As the February 22 LA Times article “Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?” explains, the exodus of women from science, engineering and technology fields is an alarming prospect for industries already struggling with severe talent shortages. It’s something we all–men and women, veterans and novices, programmers and testers, leaders and subordinates, Boomers and Millennials–have to work on together. While there are many different perspectives we can and will look at when examining IT environments today, I feel strongly that the majority male perspective is one we have to hear out and consider.
Our federal government in Washington is an example of a place where it’s all too rare for the majority (whoever may have it) to hear the minority and for the minority to hear the majority. Each side is loud and passionate, but the lack of listening and bipartisanship causes gridlock for all. I think we can all agree that the last thing we need is gridlock on the road to greater diversity across the IT industry.
Each one of us comes to the workplace with different viewpoints and experiences. Some are majority and some are minority. As a woman in IT and senior management, I also have the experience and perspective of being in sharp minority. Those perspectives shape me as an employee, as a technologist, as a team member and as a leader. The better I understand the different perspectives of those around me, the more effective I am at leading, collaborating, mentoring and listening. As we use this panel to pose questions to members of the male majority in IT, I will also use it as a way to gain insights that can make me a more discerning and effective professional.
Are you in the minority at work? In your industry? In school? If you could ask those in the majority smart and important questions, what would you ask? Share your ideas with me here as I work to shape a panel that gets us all talking. I’ll be sure to use future posts to highlight panel insights and answers to your most provocative questions.