Vox pop: Does the channel have a gender diversity problem?

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This article appeared in the March 2018 issue of CRN magazine.

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Vox pop: Does the channel have a gender diversity problem?

Jodie Korber, managing director, Lanrex

Yes, there is a lack of gender diversity. All you need to do is read the Australian Government’s latest gender equality score – or just attend an IT industry event – to see women are still in the minority.

This imbalance isn’t due to men not wanting women to be part of IT; it’s more about women not being interested in pursuing a career in IT. It’s incredibly rare to receive a female applicant for a technology role.

Solving the problem starts with educating both males and females at schools. They need to be inspired by positive role models and know what career opportunities exist.

Those of us working in IT are so much more than the stereotypical geeks. Technology underpins almost everything we do, and this presents us with an incredible opportunity to solve complex problems. What we do directly and positively changes personal and business lives.

Olivia Storelli, chief executive and founder, Sakura Sky Media

I am lucky enough to have worked with a very diverse group of talented individuals across the globe. Diversity – be it race, gender or religion – can provide a wonderful environment which can help creativity, problem-solving and innovative thought.

There is not one background or gender that is better suited to logical problem-solving and working in technology.

Traditionally in Australia, though, technology has been a male-dominated industry. This may have cultivated cultural issues that were a barrier to female representation in the IT workforce. But it is not the case everywhere – for example in the Philippines it is not unusual to have engineering teams with a female skew.

South East Asia has been closing the gap with many initiatives to attract and retain women in technology. Australia could learn from these initiatives that focus less on gender and more on the culture.

Victoria Kluth, managing director, Araza

Only 14 percent of Australian IT executive roles are being held by women – so, yes, there is a problem.

Gender diversity needs to start at the top and, too often in the IT channel, it starts at the bottom. There is an enormous gap and the top layer needs more women in key decision-making roles. 

Supporting companies that champion diversity will make a difference – and make a positive impact on the bottom line.

Similarly, supporting entrepreneurship is a fantastic way to get women into positions of leadership. It will enable more women to seize the opportunity to start something new. Araza (an IT consultancy owned by Australian women) is a great example of this.

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