One of the questions posed to women around the table was whether they’d experienced any difficulties over their career in the ICT industry, or indeed, faced the metephorical glass ceiling.
With just 2 per cent of corporate board members being women, PacNet’s Deborah Homewood asked why more weren’t taking up the challenge.
“Somewhere along the ladder, there is a breakdown in choice and women are not being promoted on merit. There is an argument that we should have quotas, so we waited for the push method to work and it hasn’t,” she said. ARN’s Susan Searle pointed out a lot of women choose not to embark on the leadership course.
“As long as you’re getting enough out of your job emotionally, and that stimulates you and remunerates you sufficiently, there comes a time when you make your own ceiling,” she said. “So many do that – a lot of women who have been asked to apply for leadership positions at a CEO or board level, don’t take it on.”
For Insight’s Andrea Della-Mattea, the question the industry should be asking was how many women actually applied for board and CEO positions. NetForce’s Deborah Lee said across its last three advertised senior management roles, not one female applied. Yet across the leadership team at Westcon Group, 45 per cent of staff were female – a consistent trend in the business, Kerry Soussou said.
Of those, we’ve all been there over seven years, and we’ve been promoted across the business. I don’t know whether it’s internal career progression that helps women to grow into leadership roles,” she said.
Although the leaders represented at ARN’s Women in ICT roundtable showed strength of character, determination and had managed to navigate the industry unscathed, plenty of women weren’t so fortunate, Homewood claimed.
“They might be as talented and skilled, but they may not have the personality traits to enable them to say ‘I won’t put up with this anymore’,” she claimed. “When you look at the statistics, equal numbers believe there’s a problem, but if you ask if there’s a problem at leadership level, 84 per cent of women will say yes, and only 43 per cent of men. That’s the crux of the problem.”