The Women in SharePoint and IT Unity Women in Technology groups are launching a new campaign for the next 365 days. This campaign was inspired by my recent struggles with being a woman working in a male-dominated field and my lingering questions over whether or not I should remain in IT.
Since I published my first story, I have had many people reach out to me. Some had no idea that I had been struggling and simply wanted to cheer me on; others reached out to tell me their own stories of how they are at the same crossroads.
As I stand at these crossroads looking ahead and trying to guess should I go right or left, I must make a decision and accept the fact that no matter which way I choose, there will be struggles, there will be hurt feelings, there will be doubts and there will be successes. So which way do I choose and what are the factors that motivate my decision?
For myself there is only one choice; I simply love technology and I love this crazy consulting life. I can’t see myself giving up and walking away from it at this point. I’ve come too far and there are still so many obstacles to cross for me to go another direction.
In knowing that I wish to continue forward along the IT path for my career, I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about how to inspire change. We know that we need to change the perception of women working in technology. We know that as women we need to speak up and speak out, which is often contrary to our nature. We know so much about how equality should work, but seem to have little power to effect change.
For myself, I know that the only way to make change happen is to be the change you want to see in others. This is one of the reasons I have started these groups (Women in SharePoint and IT Unity’s Women in Technology community) and continue to travel, donate my time and my money to supporting other women in technology. At no time should a woman feel like she has to sacrifice herself to be better. They should always have someone and avenues to reach out to for support when they need it.
Despite the ease of my choice to remain a Woman in SharePoint, for many that I have spoken to over the past weeks, that choice is not as clear. The obstacles in front of them seem too high and they have little support to help overcome them. So this has led me to create the #IStandByYou campaign.
With this campaign we are asking you – men, women, companies – to make a pledge to support a woman in technology in some way over the next 365 days. These pledges can be big or small; just make a pledge that you can commit to and help us to make a difference.
What I know for a fact is that the SharePoint community is full of some of the brightest and most compassionate people on the planet. And that together if we strive for a change, we can truly achieve a change in the workplace for women. We want these pledges to make a difference.
Here are some other suggestions for pledges to get involved:
- Tell your story by writing an article/blog for IT Unity:
- How did you become involved in technology?
- What motivates you to continue your career?
- Describe a struggle you have had and the ways that you have overcome it.
- Become a mentor to a Woman in SharePoint for three months or a year.
- Create a Women in SharePoint group in your area.
- Speak at an event for the first time.
- Speak at your local high school about your experience with a STEM career.
Anything small or large is an option; just make a pledge.
So this year as we come near the holiday that the USA celebrates as Independence Day, I want us to look ahead over the next year and make a pledge for change. I feel that by making a pledge to support one another in a new way, we will start to influence the ways we see the world and treat one another. This battle for equality is not a short battle, as proven by history. But by making a small pledge we can make a difference.
So let’s stand together, support one another, and make a pledge.
Please click here to make your pledge.