Few weeks ago, I was invited to speak at an event in support of women in technology. As a member of the Board of WCT – Women in Communication and Technology, I was asked to speak to why I support this movement. I was tempted to give a short answer- because it’s 2015! but then that line was already coined by our Prime Minister, in response to why he appointed equal # of females and males to his Cabinet – that answer said it all!. It is now 2016 and it amazes me that there is a real need to promote social justice at so many levels. All you need to do is to watch the American presidential election, let alone what’s happening in the Middle East to become even more aware that the human race continues to struggle with evolution, that we are at varying stages of human development & maturity. When you watch centers of power like Parliaments/Congress’s, around the world, they seem more like school yards than king Richard’s dream of Camelot Round Table. But the dream lives on…
Back to the real world and our subject, people argue about the percentage of women in technology, but I did not need much research to know that women are not well represented in Technology, I only needed to look around the management table or staff meetings, to see that they were between 10% and 30% women at any given point throughout my career. Luckily, my career journey was different, one of my first bosses was a women and my last boss was a woman, and many in between, including when I was a CIO, my boss was a woman. All of whom were remarkable leaders… But more than that, when I reflect back on my career in technology, I must say that I encountered many women leaders, I dare say some of the best in the field [- Christine, Stefanie, Liseanne, Samantha, Ursula, Corinne, Vidya, Michele, Elise, Sylvie, Leigh, Kirsten, Kristen, Diane and so many many more]. I don’t want to be swept away with my support for women in technology, as I am aware that women in technology are not greater than men but they are no less great; they are definitely equal in every sense of the word… Their participation level in this critical field does not reflect this equality…
2016 is a year where I predict women percentage in this field will grow, because of many factors including the fact that, well! it is 2016 🙂 Because organizations like WCT will provide active focused programs like mentoring, information sessions & opportunities to encourage participation and nudge more women into this field. Of course the fight for full equality is long and hard as there’s injustice against women in many parts of the world, but we the silent majority need to move to center stage, edge out the demagogues, dogmatists and fanatics out of the way and address the root causes of all inequalities. Collectively or as individuals, when we interact, we need to base our actions on common universal values, not narrow self-interest or archaic social norms that never worked. In many parts of the world women have little rights. Justice for women is justice for the human race and lack of it is more fuel for more conflicts at so many levels as we see around the world. When there is injustice to any segments of society, anywhere in the world, it creates an imbalance with unpredictable consequences much of them are negative …
I like to end this blog not with a gender distinction because I see none. We, men and women, are two sides of the same coin, and united we must fly.
Irrespective of your gender, wake up every morning, and do something positive, healthy or generous, appreciate something around you – a friend, a flower, a thought, a book, be part of a cause that’s bigger than yourself, it could be as simple as planting a tree or as big as work to end injustice around the world … Let’s not spend all of our talent and energy on small causes. Avoid judging others, however insane they maybe. People, good or bad, only amplify what you already have; they are not the deep source of your joy or sadness, you are! Make 2016 your year to be gentle with yourself, develop your inner peace, calmness and harmony. You can only be at peace on the outside when you are at peace on the inside. So, my friend, go out and live in the greater world from a foundation of calmness, peace and harmony and the world will surely offer you the same.
Let’s make 2016 our year of harmony, peace, and above all love!
Karen Watson said:
I really liked your tribute to strong women in IT and your insights, Mostafa. May this new year find you continuing to inspire and make us smile. Karen
You are one of those person who can see beyond the surface, seing beyond the “man and woman” thing and recognizing the true value of the person. I would dare to say that there is magic when men and women work together. They bring different qualities, insights, perceptions, instincts, leadership, … that when aligned to a common vision can lead to greater things. I had the pleasure and the honour of working close to the best – and you are one of them.I can honestly say that the combination can make every decision a better one, a solution a better one, a goal or a vision a better one… Let’s embrace differences of all kind, not just the “man and woman” thing. It can only make things better! All the best for 2016 which will hopefully be a more inclusive and diversified one!
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Well stated! Thank you for sharing your insights and all the best to you in 2016!
Louise Dunne said:
As a Woman in IT, I’m always cognizant that we are in the minority. I’m looking for my next endoever, so if you know of anyone seeking experienced women…point them this way, Mostafa!
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It’s always good to be aware of where we are and keep a good perspective while advancing … let’s connect in the new year, Happy New Year!
Another wonderful and inspiring blog post Mostafa. Thank you for your wonderful insights. I love your posts. All the best for 2016!
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Thank you Christine, you are mentioned in the blog:) well have a great 2016!