How CIOs can help women excel in the IT function

Smiling woman Uwe Michael Mueller, EMEIA PI Leader, EY, on why is it important for CIOs and organizations to invest in women’s advancement programs

Investing in women’s advancement programs is vital to building diverse and inclusive teams. As EY research shows, companies with a greater share of women in senior leadership including board roles, can achieve better financial performance.

Women are taking up bigger career roles while balancing work and family life, and are illustriously standing as beacons of success. However, getting to this point, in spite of professional and personal obstacles, is not an easy task.

To help women wade through challenges, organizations have to ensure that their female employees are working in an environment that is productive, conducive to growth and, void of stigma, and promotes equal opportunities for everybody. Businesses have also seen how creating a work space that allows women to meet and work together can translate into strong returns on investment.

In the expanding IT market, it is vital to make the most of the available talent and ensure that leaders are educated on how women can make a difference, supporting changes that make way for successful businesses.

Pave the way, be the role model

For women to progress in their IT careers, they require the right mentoring and encouragement to take up challenging roles.
Here are a few pointers for CIOs on helping the female workforce in their teams perform better:

    • Build a supportive environment: By establishing a close-knit female network in the IT organization, women can communicate better with each other and enhance their capabilities to present themselves with confidence. They can also work, meet, share experiences and learn from their peers. By facilitating strategic networking, CIOs can help their female talent raise their chances of being chosen as IT leaders. And to address issues such as conscious and unconscious bias, awareness programs can be sponsored and promoted.
    • Promote flexibility and female leadership: Organizations can educate women on opportunities for advancement and encourage them to take on leadership roles. Firms can also promote an office culture that accommodates higher levels of work-life balance and flexibility.
    • Provide access to female role models or be one yourself: As women might find it easier to open up in women-only groups, organizing learning and training programs where successful female IT leaders speak of their experiences can be a very useful tool in motivating the female workforce. And if you are a female IT leader, establishing and articulating your personal and leadership brand can not only increase your impact within the organization, but also motivate others by showing them how your personal values have driven your career growth.

For CIOs, the benefits of a women-friendly environment are clear: increased diversity, better chances in finding even more skilled female talent and increased productivity for the IT function as a whole. Women possess a unique skill set and bring fresh ideas to existing challenges. And CIOs can easily tap into this now by making some tweaks to how their departments are structured.

EY is a strong supporter of gender parity. To learn more, visit Women. Fast forward.

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