On the occasion of Women's Day, Christie Struckman, Research VP, Gartner, talked to DQ Channels about women in IT.
What is the figure for women in top level decision making positions in the IT sector in India?
Christie - Globally, the percentage of women in leadership positions is 29% (Catalyst). India has one of the lowest representations of women in senior leadership positions (CS Gender 3000 report). According to Women in Business 2020, women make up only 16% of CIOs.
How does it compare to Europe, US, UAE, China and Japan?
Christie - The global data from the two reports does not give a country-wise segregation. The global trends for women representation in technology across the world are similar. At Gartner, we do not have a country-wise segmentation for this data point.
According to you what changes should the IT industry do to bring more women in the top level decision making positions?
Christie - We need to create a more inclusive environment so less women leave. Almost 50% of tech educated women leave when they start having kids. That compares to approximately 1/3 of women overall. So what is going on with tech educated women? We believe it is because organizations are not focused on the things that matter for development. Most people still get senior roles based on their professional networks, so help women maintain those networks. Make sure women are offered opportunities to gain experience, and demonstrate their expertise in high profile ways. Pay attention to managers. Many times when a woman (or a few women) that report to a manager don’t progress, we ask what is going on with those women. I say ask what is going on with that man? Why isn’t he able to develop the women? Change the focus. And then last, confront behaviors that marginalize women. I call these the ‘death of a thousand cuts’ behaviors, things like having someone repeat your idea as if their own, being called pet names, being asked to represent all women on some matter. These are behaviors that each one individually are annoying but not worth complaining about, but progressively and successively teach women that they are not valued. These are some of the things that matter in retaining women.
Should specific changes be made in IT companies to have women in top level decision making positions?
Christie - You can’t have more women in top positions, if you don’t have more women in entry level and middle management positions. So part of what can be done is to recruit more women in IT. And for this, we have 10 strategies for how to increase the hiring of women in IT. We in IT can be a bit egocentric and think that only people with certain degrees should be able to work in IT, but that is not true. More degrees outside of the classic IT arena have significant technical aspects to them. And given that the half life of skills is decreasing we have to train our employees anyway. In 2019, 68% of paid interns were offered and accepted jobs with the companies they interned. That is a very efficient recruiting mechanism. So we should target having more women in our internship programs as a way to increase female representation.