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SQL University – Women in Technology Week

SQL University – Women in Technology Week

Welcome back to SQL Univeristy. The topic this week will be on women in technology (WIT). I first heard about the WIT in general because of my involvement with PASS. My reaction to hearing about the WIT was something similar to “what about the men in technology?” (I had the same reaction to a “mothering group” being formed and had to ask “why not include fathers? call it a parenting group?” but i digress…)

Anyway, had it not been for the PASS WIT Virtual Chapter, I am not certain I would have heard about this group at all. And that’s a shame, really, because if there is one thing I have learned in my experience as an IT professional it is that there are many people who need to be made aware of the contributions of the women in their own office.

I recently admitted that writing a SQL University post on SSIS was way outside my comfort zone. Well, you could extend that zone to the planet Venus for this topic, but here goes anyway.

tempdb

As always, awareness is the fundamental key to everything you do, and here is no different. For those of you working in an office right now, stand up and look around. See any women around you? Are there computers at their desks? Guess what? Chances are they either work in a technical field (perhaps even IT), or they have some technical acumen.

Know what else? They’re organized. That’s right, a whole organization dedicated to “empowering women to be the architects of change in the technology industry.” I’m not really sure what change they are trying to architect, but I’ll assume it is a change for the better. For someone. Probably not me.

msdb

At this level you should be actively participating in some WIT event. A great one would be the luncheon held each year during the PASS Summit. I have attended that luncheon in the past and have enjoyed the panel of speakers as well as the table conversations. Yeah, that’s right men are allowed to attend the luncheon. I know, I didn’t believe it at first either, but it’s true. We are allowed to attend, we just need to keep our mouths shut. OK, I made that last part up. We are allowed to open our mouths to eat lunch. But I wouldn’t even think about going Kanye during anyone’s panel time.

Also at this level you should be willing and able to increase awareness of WIT. The easiest way to achieve this is to invite others to participate in the WIT luncheon at the upcoming PASS Summit.

model

If you want to be at this level then you need to go out and make a difference. You can start right in your own office by being an advocate for a woman you work closely with. What I mean by that is to make certain her efforts are being recognized by the right people (managers, customers). When the time for a promotion comes around, make certain that her skills and efforts are brought to light.

Also, don’t be afraid to tell someone that their jokes that degrade or poke fun at women are not appropriate, no matter how funny they may happen to be. If you want to tell jokes then go be a stand up comic somewhere, just not at the water cooler in your office.

master

At this level you will look to influence the lives of others. I suggest that you start with your daughter, or perhaps a niece if either have taken any interest in things that are related to technology. Find ways to help them to learn more about whatever it is that interests them. Encourage them at every opportunity.

resourcedb

Start with these two sites:

http://www.womenintechnology.org/

http://wit.sqlpass.org/

And go from there. If you want to contact someone, start with Wendy Pastrick (blog | twitter), she can help point you in the right direction.

  • K

    “I’m not really sure what change they are trying to architect, but I’ll assume it is a change for the better. For someone. Probably not me.”

    Don’t be so sure. I’ve been active in the past in women in technology groups. Mostly for networking and it was the most convenient meetings. Also, was part of a women’s “committee” at a non-tech employer. What were some of the goals for change? Family/Employee friendly work environments were big. If you have to deal with elder care or family issues it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man you can benefit. Flexible work schedules/Telecommuting. Family leave instead of just “maternity” leave, to at least get on the road towards everybody taking leave or having it available so that when you do take it, it’s not a stigma.

    Then there at least were some interesting conversations on getting more women/minorities/other groups involved in the design phases of engineering over all to get wider opinions and larger market share by reflecting needs and opinions of a wider group of consumers.

    I haven’t been actively involved in a “women in” group in some time, so I’m not sure what the topics du jour are currently. But, in the past they could benefit all employees.

    • Thomas LaRock

      wonderful points, thanks for the comment.