The technology industry is making strides toward narrowing the gender gap and promoting greater diversity within the once male-dominated IT industry, but the work is far from over.
The numbers are, in part, encouraging. According to a poll of 100 female executives leading up to The Channel Company's recent Women of the Channel West event in Napa, Calif., there is still a gap in how women view their working environments. The research found that 75 percent of women in management positions believe they are treated equal to males on the management team, and 77 percent reported experiencing no hindrance related to their gender.
At the same time, however, 77 percent of women in non-management roles still believe their male counterparts are being paid more and 82 percent of these respondents think that women are held to higher standards than male co-workers.
"That to me is still a gap," Lisa MacKenzie, partner and senior vice president of The Channel Company, said during the opening keynote of the event.
The good news is the pipeline for getting women and girls into tech careers is growing, thanks to STEM programs geared toward young girls and increased visibility into various IT career paths at the college level, believes Brooks McCorcle, president of AT&T Partner Solutions.
"The pipeline is robust, but the facts support that we still have a ways to go—it's a work in progress," McCorcle said.
With more women coming into technology, the focus needs to shift to elevating more women into the top levels of leadership, Tina Gravel, senior vice president of global channel and strategic alliances at Waltham, Mass.- based Cryptzone, said. In the Fortune 500 in 2015, only 22 of the companies had female CEOs, or around 4.4 percent of the overall list. While women are climbing the ranks, Gravel said she would still like to see more women in the top leadership and strategic roles.
"It's certainly a lot more women than when I started, but it's amazing that it hasn't progressed more," Gravel said.
However, some companies are already defying that trend, appointing female executives to their top channel leadership roles. Verizon Enterprise Solutions now has Janet Schijns at the helm of its global channel partner program. Schijns said she hopes to encourage more women in the technology industry to break into leadership roles.
"I think it's important to all of us that women are in leadership positions in an equal proportion to males. It's about having balanced diversity," she said.