On 8 March, thousands of International Women’s Day events have been planned throughout the world. The focus of the day generally expresses respect for ,and appreciation towards women who have achieved greatness on the public stage. More often than not it is to acknowledge their accomplishments in economics, political and social change.
I’d like to take a moment today to thank several remarkable women colleagues that I work with every day who move the ball forward, inch by inch, to make sure that the impact of our efforts to improve the world do not go unseen.
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Tags: connected women, corporate affairs, corporate social responsibility, CSR, employee satisfaction, employees, International Women's Day, marketing, women, Women in IT, Women in Technology
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.
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Tags: apprenticeships, diversity, girlsinit, Women in IT, Women in Technology
Some time ago now, when I was a teenager, I was told a shaggy dog story. For those who haven’t heard of shaggy dog stories, they are purposefully longwinded tales that play upon the preconceptions of the audience. The audience listens with certain expectations which in the end are either not met or met in some entirely unexpected manner challenging the audience to check how they think.
I won’t take up this space and your time telling a full length shaggy dog story but I will recount the gist of the story to highlight the preconception that I’m afraid I was guilty of as a teenager and still sometimes fall into the trap of now.
A girl is lying in a hospital bed having had a serious accident. So serious, in fact, she has to remain in hospital for a good while. She is visited by many people: Her friends, the doctor, the nurses, her father, her teachers, her brother and her sister, each of them bringing her get better soon gifts and asking after her well-being.
When the tale comes to a close the narrator says: Didn’t this girl receive a lot of visits? Then asks: How many times did her mother visit, can you tell me?
You stop. And think. And decide to say: Well it’s a bit tricky counting up all of the mother’s visits because there were so many visits altogether, too many to keep track of the mother’s. But then you think, actually I don’t think the mother visited at all. Yes, that’s right. The poor girl didn’t get one visit from her mother. How could that be?
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Tags: diversity, gender bias, inclusion, shaggy dog story, Women in IT