To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we asked several of our staff what it means to them, and their experiences of being a woman in IT.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Amanda Grocutt, Director of Service Delivery, Global Deployment Solutions: For me, it means two things. One is that, even 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities today that I have now in my career. More importantly, it’s a reminder that 130 million female children in the world today still don’t have access to education. We should all be actively working to promote what we have, and how difficult it was to get here.
Why is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Amanda Gascoyne Head of Internal Sales, Westcon UK and Ireland: We have a number of women in Westcon-Comstor in management or senior positions, but not everyone knows who they are, or what they do. It would benefit other women within our business to understand the career path they’ve taken to achieve the roles they are in today.
What is your experience with equality in the workplace?
Robyn Newel, HR Director, Middle East and Africa: I speak from both an African and global perspective. Born in 1970 and raised during apartheid, the challenges were twofold: being black and being a woman. So in terms of business in our continent, I believe we’ve transformed significantly. Not only by creating equal opportunities in the workplace, but also within our value systems that speak to respect, dignity, appreciation of woman’s uniqueness and femininity. Globally, I’ve experienced other cultures and countries and believe that the same values are demonstrated throughout Westcon-Comstor.
What’s your experience of equality in Westcon-Comstor?
Sonna Barry, Business Development Director, Services Solutions EMEA: Here it’s more about ‘who I am’ and ‘what I can do’, rather than me being female and a woman of colour. There’s a lot of gender awareness, sensitivity and support across leadership. When I spoke at Women in Tech, for example, the reaction was support and encouragement.
Why is diversity important in the workplace?
Melita Brooke, Annuity Business Manager, APAC: Diversity in the workplace brings diversity of thought, diversity of ideas, and better problem solving and solutions. Diversity comes from life experience, which can be the result of different upbringing and lifestyles, race or religion, gender or nationality, or cultural and economic differences. Equality is making sure that we have the structures and the support in place to allow people to have a voice and to give them the opportunity, choice and confidence to say yes, or to say no.
What can we do to encourage more women into IT?
Amanda Grocutt: We need to show that what we do is really meaningful. IT about the cutting edge products and solutions that save lives, solve healthcare problems, opens up the remotest areas of the world so people have information at their fingertips. We make a real difference to the world that we live in.
What’s your advice to a woman thinking of a career in IT?
Sonna Barry: Don’t be put off what you read or hear about the industry being male dominated. Be open minded, take a chance, apply for jobs and use the interviews to find out how diverse the organisations are, and how much they want to work with you. You’ll be surprised how open and open minded they are.