IWD 2021: Cohesity manager on how to better mentor women in IT
Comment from Cohesity head of alliances for Asia Pacific and Japan, Cathy Conroy.
There are many and varied roles in the IT industry, not just engineering, programming and the like. That’s what amazed me the most when I started working in the sector over 20 years ago. Roles like project management, operations, Q&A, business development, channel management, marketing and analytics are entirely different in 2021 than in 2001.
We need to educate more women at school and university age on the varied career and options that they could have by working in this industry. The IT industry is not just defined by being an engineer. Women also need to know that the IT industry needs to have more women coming into the sector; we need to have their perspectives, experience, and diverse thinking. It is an industry that does so well when you have contributions that are not just all one dimensional.What do IT companies need to do to ensure that more women have the opportunity to achieve senior leadership roles within their organisations?
Companies need to have programs that support the development of their teams, in both professional and personal development. They also need to have formal mentoring and coaching programs for people, especially women that are ‘early in career’ so that they can invest in the people that will make great leaders in the future and have this leadership come from within the organisation and not hire from the outside.What is the role of the government in attracting more women into STEM-based qualifications?
I really think the government at the federal, state and local levels needs to continue to invest in STEM-based programs for schools and universities, with a specific focus on females. Educating them on what STEM careers actually look like, how varied they are and leverage the women in the field today to help drive the messaging to the schools through the programs.What can women do to support themselves and their peers drive a more diverse and inclusive IT industry in Australia?
All women, especially those in leadership positions, should be giving back to their universities, their schools, and through the companies they work for. Encourage your employer to get behind STEM awareness through company-sponsored activities. Look for clubs and associations in the industry today that are in need of volunteers to help drive diverse thinking.