At License Dashboard we are, and always have been passionate about creating and maintaining a diverse place of work. One of our employees has been working with the Women in Technology Community by building a space where women can support each other, share advice and work to narrow the gender gap.
We asked some esteemed women within the IT industry to tell us a bit about their experiences within the workplace. Here’s what Jennah Michalik of Quadrant said:
When did you first start in the IT industry and what drew you to it?
My first encounter with the IT industry was right out of Law School. The first position I took as a consultant was to review an organization’s Software Agreements, in preparation for a data center migration. The gentleman interviewing me was very skeptical and made it ever so clear by his last question… Why do you want to review Software Agreements? Being over prepared for the interview, I paused ever so momentarily before answering. My response was rather simple, because the world of IT, especially software, is always changing and I love to learn. Being able to find a niche in Software Agreements, becoming versed on their unique terms and governing laws has kept me on my toes ever since.
I would be lying if I said I hadn’t faced challenges in the workplace. However, so often its only after the fact, that I realize it was a challenge based on gender. Not that I run around with rose (female equality) tinted glasses but in today’s pro equality message driven environment, its not the first conclusion I jump to. I can very vividly remember one specific instance where I was invited to a meeting of all higher ups. When I entered the room, I quickly noticed all the older men filing in and seated at the table. One of them actually asked me to get him some coffee… Being the presenter for the meeting I politely smiled, stood up and addressed the room “Lets get started.” Being a young female in a heavily dominated male industry isn’t easy and comes with challenges of all sizes. Showing up over prepared and always willing to speak up has helped me tackle most if not all of them head on.
Yes! Yes! Yes! But I do not want to place the blame on men, instead I want to turn to all my fellow female colleagues in IT and ask how did the negotiations go when you took your current position? When was the last time you asked your boss for a raise? We women need to speak up. We need to be better negotiators. We need to do our homework study what other professionals, regardless of gender, are getting paid for the same or similar role. We need to be fearless and ask for pay raises. We need to be doing all we can to close this gap for good.
Women – each of us in the workplace play a vital role in how the future looks for our fellow female colleagues. Women, I have read, are much more likely to keep other women down because of the struggles they went through to get where they are. Women feel that other women need to work just as hard and go through just as much to deserve the next seat. When in fact, this outlook couldn’t be more wrong. Women in power need to be advocates and take ownership in the solution to this question and start reaching down and pulling up!
Women in power need to be advocates and take ownership in the solution to this question and start reaching down and pulling up!
IAITAM – The International Association of IT Asset Managers has been a wonderful resource for me, as women in IT.
Keep an eye out for the next blog in the Women in Technology series and if you would like to take part, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.