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17 March 2017 · by Anna Russell Cloud Expo Europe 2017 - Women in Technology Panel Discussion

‘Promoting Equality and Diversity Through Exposure and Awareness’

This week I attended the Cloud Expo at the London ExCel. When researching the event, there was so much to see and do but before I set off from the office I decided to have only one objective in mind: head straight to the Women in Tech panel talk and be inspired to write something for the community.

I was pleasantly surprised to see an equal amount of men and women sitting in the audience and instantly thought to myself that we would cover some good ground in this discussion. After all, collaboration is the key to our success in this right?

On the panel there sat 3 female leaders in technology who all had extremely helpful advice to offer their male and female peers on how to increase diversity in their prospective IT departments.

I would like to discuss now some on the main themes I have taken from the discussion:

Diversity PAYS!

A Bloomberg index recognised that companies with a more diverse taskforce would be more successful and generate more profit. This means that now there is a genuine ‘business case’ to hire women into technology roles.  Bloomberg analysts in London and Singapore demonstrated that a set of 20 gender-diverse companies would have outperformed the S&P 500 (an American stock market index) by 141% over 10 years.

The Role of Our Male Peers

Encouragement is an under-rated factor in increasing numbers of women in technology. If you are a father to a daughter, encourage her to take a science or engineering class at school. If you are a husband to a wife, encourage her to look at a coding course if she is looking for a change of career. If you are a brother to a sister, encourage her to look at the diverse range of jobs available on IT careers pages.

Subconscious Bias 

There is an argument that diversity policies and targets are important in achieving maximum potential and that HR needs to put safeguards in place to prevent unconscious bias from damaging the workplace. One of the main obstacles for increasing women in technology is our innate desire to hire people like ourselves. When we already have such an under representation of female IT leaders and with the vast majority of managers being male, this tendency to hire people like ourselves is only going to delay the gender parity. We have to be open to change and working with different people. Imagine how successful we could be if we had fresh perspectives rather than the same opinions and ideas all the time? 

This was such a positive and productive discussion to be a part of so thank you Cloud Expo Europe and the keynote speakers. I am sure we all agree that there is a challenging but bright future ahead of us!