When I go to the various IT events there is one thing that I notice a lack of and that is women in IT.
I’m not saying that there aren’t any women in IT but there seems to be so few compared to the number of men. I go to events where there are around 50 men at a meeting and there is sometimes 3 – 4 women in the group. It is something that I notice a lot and something that I really see as a problem. I have been told that I don’t understand the material or asked if I am just a tag along but I always say that I am there because I am in IT.
A recent experience
I did have an interesting experience recently and it did show that there are still people that have a problem with a women doing what they see as a man’s job especially in IT. A client asked our business if we could assist in moving computers for them. Yes, it was they hired the two staff to do the work so that was one man and one women. The person hiring us knew exactly who he was hiring and was happy that he could get me to assist with something in the office.
We arrive to help move both the desk top computers and the monitors for the various staff members and in this company there are a lot of men. I didn’t care because my role was to move the computers and that was what I was going to do. Sure, I had the cart to help me the computers the distance between the different desks but that was all. The first couple of moves went extremely well and the men seemed to be happy that I was there to move his computer. Now the third man that I had to help was a little different story. He wasn’t as prepared as most of them for the move so that was the first issue that I had to deal with but I understood and dealt with that.
When I went up to him to let him know that it was his turn for the computer move he didn’t seem to be too happy that it was time but he didn’t say anything about that. I did let him know that if he wanted to dust off the desk he was going to be going to he might want to do it then because I was going to be moving the computer quickly. He went off to clean the new desk so at least I could spend the time disconnecting his computer without an issue. I loaded the cart with just his computer stuff and off I went to set it up.
The new desk was at the opposite end of the office so that was fine and as I started to set up the computer he noticed a box under the desk and asked me what was in it. As I am not staff I didn’t have a clue and let him know that he might want to ask the person that had been sitting there about the box. He disappeared for a few minutes which gave me the time to set up the rest of the computer and ensure that it was going to boot up correctly. I did this and finally let him know that if he could log in I would appreciate it and then I was done with his computer and the move of it.
Well I figured I was finished having to deal with him but it didn’t end there because about an hour later he comes over and questions me about the mouse that I gave him. The mouse that I gave him was the one from his desk but he felt that I had exchanged his mouse for a dirty mouse. I walked over with him to check to ensure it was the mouse that I had moved and sure enough it was as we were only moving one user at a time so it was difficult to mix up any of the computer equipment. I told him that yes it was the mouse that had been on his desk and just explained to him again that we were only moving one desk at a time so it wasn’t possible to get the mice mixed up.
I know that there are quite a few women in some IT roles but I think one of the issues is that they are not in some of the higher profile jobs which makes them less visible. I go to some security meetings and there are some women that are extremely knowledgeable and make a point of showing up to meetings.
I hope that soon it will be a lot easier to be a women in IT and not be looked down upon by other members of the same profession. Sure a women may not be able to move some of the equipment that a man can move but with way things are changing the equipment is getting lighter and move of the jobs involve a virtual machine and not a physical machine. Not every women that is in IT is a support person for the men. Women are in IT because of their passion and interest in the work but men have to understand that sure for years it was a male dominated profession but times are changing. A women that is in a role has already had to prove themselves and really doesn’t need to be challenged by other individuals just because they don’t feel she belongs in the role.
I will continue to prove that yes women do belong in IT and we aren’t all just there in the sales or marketing roles. We are there as a key part of a business and need to be seen as that and are no longer the one’s standing in the background.