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Archive for April, 2014

No Line Ups at the Womens Washroom

I recently participated in a server build event (which was awesome) and even before I walked into the room, I knew what to expect.

There were 20 servers, 20 participants, 5 server reps, and 1 Microsoft Rep. Guess how many were female? One! Me!

You all know I’ve been at Microsoft for about 6 months now (where did that time go?) and I have noticed a disturbing trend while I have been visiting various sites and events. A lot of the time I’m the only female in the room, and if there are other females, they are not there for the technical component of the event, presentation, etc. This hasn’t been the case at all events, and with one of the big name companies I have visited, I was surprised at the large number of females in the room. Yet on the other side of the coin, at one event, out of 27 people in the room, I was the only female; even the sales reps were male.

I know the number of females in IT has decreased over the years (and I have seen it), but honestly, I am shocked at how low the number has become. I wrote an article about this last year outlining some of the reasons why women don’t stay in IT, but after the last few months, I am more concerned that women are not even considering IT as an option.

My top 5 reasons to encourage females in IT are:

1. The pay is great! If that doesn’t win you over, keep reading.

2. No one likes to deal with the “basement geek”. Guys can be intimidating and, let’s face it, geeky guys can be really hard to talk to. Just being a female in IT can open doors, since we tend to be more approachable.

3. As we move to more and more cloud-based services, going to an office will not be necessary. For the working mom, this gives you the benefit of working from home around your kids’ schedule.

4. There are so many paths in IT, you can specialize in what is best for you. Programming, database design, virtualization, etc. are just a few of the many options. If you’re interested in technology, there is at least one path for you to choose.

5. This is pretty much the only career path in which you will almost never have to wait in line at the bathroom. Since being in IT, I don’t think I’ve ever had to do the potty dance.

If you are a parent/guardian or educator, it is your job to teach children it’s OK for people of any gender to have an interest in computers; and if you know a female in IT, support her. It’s hard to be one of the only women in the room when it comes to anything, not just IT, and support and encouragement is beneficial to womens’ success in this male-dominated field.

Categories: Women In Tech
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