It’s International Women’s Day, and while it’s no secret, this is the perfect time to note that women comprise but a small percentage of IT professionals. While those numbers are increasing – based on numerous efforts to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as many enterprises equalizing practices related to hiring and compensation – the harsh reality is that the person architecting your Citrix solution or addressing your VDI issue is, more than likely, a man.

If a man is best suited to tackle specific IT challenges, that’s okay. But why do we have this perception? Is a man in that position because a woman either wasn’t given the same opportunity or because of a cultural or social barrier that prevented a woman from reaching for more? Whatever the reason, the number of women working in IT is disappointing.

Women in IT must demonstrate leadership, confidence, and assertiveness. When a man exhibits these traits, it’s viewed positively, but when a woman does so, she is often assigned adjectives, such as “bossy” (or other choice terms) by men. On this International Women’s Day, ask yourself whether you use discrete adjectives for men vs. women when describing the same behaviors.

Are three female CTPs sufficient? NO!

The Citrix Technology Professional program boasts three women. Out of 50 CTPs, just 3 are women. Esther Barthel, Theresa Miller, and I are proud represent 6% of the CTP community. Each of us was granted this honor based on our individual achievements and contributions, not because we are female.

Unfortunately, for the CTP class of 2018, there were no new female awardees and, in fact, there weren’t any new female applicants. Esther, Theresa, and I would like to see that change.

About a year and a half ago, we brainstormed on ways we could increase these numbers. We determined that we wanted to enable women, one at a time, to gain confidence and achieve their goals. This blossomed into the CUGC Women in Technology mentoring program. The program expanded this year to include additional female role models, and we hope to expand further each year, encourage interest in STEM, and make contributions more visible in the community.

Esther, Theresa, and I hope to see many more women at Citrix Synergy this year. Let’s #banbossy, #pressforchange, and share positive discussions about leadership, confidence, and assertiveness.