In the February issue of PM Network magazine you can read an interview with me about my views on sex discrimination in IT. The article is written as a debate between two project managers with opposing views. My opinion is that based on my experience there is no sex discrimination in IT. Who knows whether my opinion might be different had I been exposed to different experiences?
My co-interviewee in the article (whom I never actually met because the article was composed through several e-mail exchanges) says that I was lucky that I always managed to work in environments without sex discrimination. Her opinion made me wonder whether this may be because I always worked in environments where they hired women in IT – after all, they hired me – which shows that they had nothing against women in the first place. I’ve worked both in places where I was one of a handful of women in predominantly male environments as well as in places with many women. I can’t say that there were any differences with respect to sex discrimination. In the article I said:
“To establish authority as a project manager there are many personal traits to be considered, such as excellent communication, mediation and negotiation skills, and the ability to motivate project team members and help them to overcome obstacles. None of these are directly related to a person’s gender.”
Yes, on occasion I did experience incidents that could be described as sex discrimination. I’ve often heard comments that women are not suitable for IT, both from my fellow classmates and professors at the university where I studied and later at work. But I always considered such comments as isolated incidents because you can always find individuals who are biased and are not shy to say so, whether against gender, race, religion or politics. Therefore I don’t see sex discrimination in particular as an overall trend in IT.
Just like in any situation in life and at work, we must work towards establishing our own reputation. I strongly believe that any woman can be just as good in IT as any man, as long as she is willing to work hard as a professional.