Diversity – Products and services could all benefit
As many of you know, I specialise in identity, be it on-premises identity with Active Directory or Cloud identity with Azure AD and other cloud IDaaS providers. I tend to work on the leading edge of technology, and it can become deeply technical. In addition to being an MVP and providing consultancy services, I run two masterclasses, one on identity and the other on troubleshooting authentication and authorisation protocols. Over the years, I have always been disappointed with the mix of genders. The teams for many of the projects I work on are completely male-dominated, and for the masterclasses, there are very few attendees that are not men. Of course, there are exceptions, and I ran an on-site troubleshooting masterclass a few weeks ago and much to my delight there were three women in the class.
You may be wondering why was it such a delight. The answer to that is multifaceted:
All genders and cultures bring different energies and perspectives; we can all benefit from a harmonious blend. I find it changes the dynamics of a meeting/class completely and often people are more willing to share knowledge
Women who are doing deep-techie work tend to be the best-of-the-best and often have a huge thirst for knowledge. This, I deeply respect and relish as I love synergy of sharing.
Of course, no one should have to prove that they are the-best-of-the-best, to get a job when a male counterpart, who may not be as good, gets the post. However, that seems to be the way that the industry goes, although changes are happening.
When we design and create systems, we are building them for all genders and all sectors from education, healthcare, government and retail. To build the best possible systems which have maximum usability for everyone, surely we should have all genders and cultures as part of the design and development teams from gestation to fully functioning systems.
Some female friends complain about bathroom or showroom layouts that are just not women-friendly. The layout seems alright to me, but then I am a man, and you can probably guess the sources of the problem. The builder who designed and installed it was a man. How would it be if the AI systems of the future could only “think” like men?
It’s time we started designing the best possible products and services by redressing the gender/culture imbalances. So recruiters and employers, please don’t just choose someone because they are the best-of-the-best. Create the best possible team, create a balanced team.
Before I close, because I am Microsoft focused, I would like to mention the great community initiative “Humans of IT”. Shona Bang runs the project, and in her own words, she is “ Passionate about empowering people of diverse backgrounds (be it gender, social or cultural) in technology to cultivate a vibrant skills-driven ecosystem for all. Technology is our common language, and unites us all :)”
Let’s all be passionate about and benefit from balance.
Any comments, please tweet me @john_craddock