Thursday, January 22, 2009

NerdGirl: Women in Lotus, Part 2

Apologies, I did not get to the BoF. Part 2 was never meant to be about it, just I wanted to break up what was becoming a long post.

In response to the perceived male way of life, some of the panelists expressed how they viewed their way to work through the male work process, sad but true, they were right in many of their opinions on how to do it.
Mary Beth Raven put it best when she said "act like a guy, just do it, don't ask for consensus".

Gabriella discussed the idea that men enjoy arguing, but women shy away from it. Not sure I would agree entirely, but if, as some panelists said, they "feel", rightly or wrongly, that they aren't always sure of their own knowledge and in those cases would defer, in their earlier careers but now know better. It's better to express any opinion, right or wrong, then not to at all as it can be viewed in a subservient way and repeated outcomes like this can lead to further detriment in the workplace.

Jess Stratton discussed her road racing and how until she won an event was ignored for the most part. Presumably because she hadn't proven she knew enough or was good enough to the male society of racing.

In parallel, I experienced much of the same when first going to work for Lotus in EMEA as an American. And until I could validate I knew technology, wouldn't be accepted in various countries.

Lastly, my interest was in trying to understand what we can do to go forward to encourage new women to IT/Lotus technologies.

In addition what should IBM/Business Partners do to encourage more women or hire more women? What is anyone doing on this topic?

We are looking into working with some local social service groups by retraining the women and then providing them positions and helping them grow in their respective areas.

If you want to be part of the solution, step up and help us figure it out.