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Women should ‘raise their hand up with confidence’

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By Corinne Sharp, president of Sharp Perspective Inc.

It was an honor to be part of the #CDNWomen Twitter Chat last week with IT World Canada, Computer Dealer News and Jennifer Johnson of Ingram Micro. The online and ongoing discussion of why there are not more women in IT and in particular, leadership positions was the hot topic.

While great progress has been made over the years, confidence and taking risks seemed to be the theme that crept into the dialogue. Why is it that many women take a back seat to their own career climb and watch the male species continue to dominate the upper ranks? We all agreed, put your hand up and jump in to drive results for the business you are in.

The new generation does not see gender the same way as the baby boomers, which will be a refreshing change leading into the next 10 years. What I did find disturbing was an article focused on the gender pay gap starting at home, where girls are paid less allowance than the boys even though they are expected to do the same amount of work or greater. Moms, this just needs to stop.

The conversation shifted to whether men and women are really that different. Absolutely. Acknowledge it, embrace it, drive results. Bringing value to the business, culture and teams you lead and work within is critical to any business. Senior leaders of all genders are looking for managers who can take on tough challenges and lead entrepreneurial change in an organization. If that is you, put your hand up with confidence.

We also discussed work-life balance, and I offered a different point of view. I like to focus on work-life integration. I love my family, friends and career. Technology allows me to communicate and manage my time better than ever before (most of the time). While people complain about being “always on,” I am not a victim to my mobile device and embrace the productivity gains it provides me.

I can’t imagine a world without texting, Skype, outlook calendars or the odd mind-numbing game. Work-life integration means different things to everyone and when you need to shut down, have the confidence to do so. It will be waiting there for you in the morning, guaranteed.

The doors of diversity are opening wider. Find mentors (male and female) that will help you. And, hold that door open for the next women to pass through.