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It’s been a busy two weeks here at The VAR Guy. I’ve shaken a score of hands, had dozens of conversations and currently have more stories waiting to be written than I have time to write. But I’m not one to let an opportunity pass by, which is how I got here in the first place. So I’m stepping away from my daunting to-do list this afternoon to acknowledge International Women’s Day.
March 9, 2016
It’s been a busy two weeks here at The VAR Guy. I’ve shaken a score of hands, had dozens of conversations and currently have more stories waiting to be written than I have time to write. But I’m not one to let an opportunity pass by, which is how I got here in the first place. So I’m stepping away from my to-do list this afternoon to acknowledge International Women’s Day.
In just the brief time that I’ve been here, the issue of women in tech has already emerged as a high priority. I’ve spoken with industry analysts, channel executives and non-profit organizations about its importance. The leadership at Penton has clearly expressed a desire to address the issue. Traveling back from the Bay Area from a three-day division-wide meeting, I struck up a conversation with a woman in the airport who works with service providers. Upon hearing about the new position I’d just taken, her immediate and emphatic response was, “You need to talk about women in the channel.”
Heard, understood, acknowledged.
Data shows that women are overwhelmingly underrepresented in the tech sector starting at the university level. Women leave tech careers at drastically higher rates than men. Despite evidence that companies benefit from having women in leadership positions, women remain only a fraction of the c-suite in technology, and women-led startups receive far less backing from VCs.
The upside is that for each of these facts, there are corresponding efforts from every corner working to reverse the trends. Programs from vendors, industry organizations, educational initiatives and specialty investors all exist because people recognize the gender disparity in tech and are determined to do their part to even the scales.
In the future, The VAR Guy will be both covering and engaging with women in this space. You can expect to see me at industry events, but also interacting with our channel readers on their home turf in the hopes of better connecting with and understanding them. Wherever you run into me, whether in person or in cyberspace, feel free to strike up this conversation. And as I get up to speed, I assure you we will do our best to highlight the issue of women in technology in our content.
In the meantime, in honor of International Women’s Day, I’ll just leave you with these statistics. They tell a clearer story than I could probably write, anyway.
Women comprise 57% of the U.S. workforce, but only 26% of professional computing occupations. That’s down from 35% in 1990.
Women occupy only 6% of corporate Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions.
While 57% of bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women, only 18% of Computer and Information Sciences degrees go to women. Even more astounding, that’s down from 37% in 1985.
Women make up approximately 13% of board directors in technology – and 78% of those director positions are in small- and mid-cap companies.
Fortune 500 companies that have at least three women directors have over 42% higher return on sales.
Women-led tech startups have 35% higher ROI and generate 12% higher revenue than male-run startups
Less than 7% of startups that receive venture capital are founded by women.
The quit rate for women leaving technology careers at the mid-level point is double that of men.
Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions
Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.
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