I’d been looking at the issue of the lack of women in IT for a couple of years and trying to see how we could make a real impact when back in September 2011 I heard of a pilot scheme run by a colleague in our professional services division that had taken on 6 recruits aged 17 – 22, with a split of 2 male and 4 female, into an IT Apprenticeship scheme. Interest piqued, I met with scheme manager and was hugely heartened to hear that he had not purposefully gone out to get female recruits, it just happened that they were the right candidates and had interviewed well. By contrast we get around 10% – 20% female intake from our technical graduate program and this is most likely driven by more girls having already chosen a non-technical path through university. Bingo! I thought – this program could bring in both younger talent, and female engineering talent into Cisco in one hit.
Women in technology have unique opportunities and challenges. Only about 25% of Information Technology jobs are held by women and this can lead to feelings of isolation. Additionally, when women don’t see a lot of role models in the industry, they find it harder to believe they can succeed.
In working with the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, I’ve learned that it’s important to acknowledge these challenges and have open conversations about them. After brainstorming with my manager and getting great support from my VP, I rallied a group of women to create a day devoted to the development and advancement of women in technology.
On March 27th, we held our first Women in Technology Forum for Cisco employees. The main event in San Jose, California saw 300 attendees in-person. The nice thing about working at a worldwide leader in networking is that Read More »
Driving home from the supermarket a few Saturday mornings ago, I switched on the radio to discover a female chef talking very enthusiastically about her collection of knives. I couldn’t place who she was but was suddenly more interested when out of her mouth popped the phrase:
“Anyone who uses a serrated knife for anything other than tomatoes is totally gay.”
I turned up the radio hoping to check what I’d heard was really what I’d heard but there was only silence, as if the chat show host and other guests were deliberating over the need to pick up on the chef’s use of the term gay.
So you think you know it all?
If you haven’t seen this advert for Carlsberg beer,
take a minute to watch it.
Beer’s not my preferred tipple, but I do think this a really clever twist on the way that preconceptions keep us in their thrall (as well as a good ad for lager.)
A series of couples are sold tickets to see a movie. However once inside, they realise that their seats are the last two in the middle of the theatre. And that every other seat is occupied by a Hell’s Angels biker, covered in tattoos.
It’s widely recognised that the most effective leaders and the best managers are those who consider and understand the impact of what they say and do, on other people.
Who hasn’t been in a meeting where somebody senior has absolutely crushed someone else – often without even realising the effect that might have had on that person’s motivation and wellbeing? Many of us have had the “boss from hell” – the one that bullies or cajoles or frightens others into submission.
In my experience the best bosses are those who lead without taking power from others. They are the people who lead by example, who instil respect and loyalty, and who make others feel empowered to do their jobs well.
But power is not just about being a boss.