It’s a man’s man’s man’s world”. I love to sing along with this song by James Brown. It is certainly applicable to IT. In our world, at Delaware Consulting and at our customers’ sites, men are in the majority. Fortunately, there are companies that go against the grain. That really make an effort to foster equality among men and women and take diversity seriously.
At Delaware Consulting we do our best on that score. One out of five employees is female and more and more women are taking up leadership positions. There is no full balance yet, but we are going in the right direction. To get a good balance, one has to recruit women first. And we all know that education has to be aligned with the industry to offer that possibility. Fortunately, we are now seeing an increase in students in technical studies and an increase in the percentage of women. And that’s a good thing. With the challenges that our disruptive world is facing (global warming, physical security, economic downturns,…) we need to use all the talent available to make the world a better place.
They are big, and I am small. Being in the minority at industry gatherings or in meetings with the IT department of customers does not mean that we need to be pitied. Not at all! It can be an advantage – and sometimes a disadvantage – to offer another perspective. And I am convinced that women do bring another perspective.
Women have a number of capacities that are a bonus in business life. For one thing, we are better at listening to other voices than our own. Not a bad thing when recombination is the baseline. Women tend also to be more empathic and more willing to lend an ear to a colleague that wants to voice his concerns. The feminine quality of caring is one of the core values of Delaware Consulting. Women are better at building consensus and making decisions that all stakeholders can accept. And let’s not forget that women are better at multitasking than men. And that’s definitely an advantage in a fast-evolving and hectic world.
Of course, there are still a number of hurdles to be taken. Yes there is sexual harassment, yes there is an old boys network, yes there are still men and women who do not take women in IT seriously. But, If you ask me, I think we need more role models that show young girls what opportunities the IT industry has to offer. We have many role models already in Belgium. Just think of the `ICT Women of the Year’ like Pascale Van Damme (Dell), Saskia Van Uffelen (Ericsson) or Martine Tempels (Telenet) and other leading ladies like Proximus’ Dominique Leroy. Their experiences and their career paths can stimulate other women to take up an IT career, preferably at Delaware Consulting of course.
That’s why I am so happy that Anneleen Gheysen has been nominated for the` Young ICT Lady of the Year’ competition that Data News organizes every year. Anneleen is a senior consultant in our SAP practice. Anneleen is a good example of the opportunities IT has on offer. Despite having followed a non-IT curriculum (she studied political science) she now knows all the ins and outs of SAP and has quickly moved from systems analyst to IT consultant and now senior consultant at Delaware Consulting.
I will help her by voting for her and I am sure you will too! Anneleen deserves it, our goals for diversity deserve it. So surf to the Data News website and give Anneleen your vote.