I recently attended SDI's Gender Equality in ITSM event—which was supported by Ivanti—as a staff member and a speaker. But I also attended as a woman in tech who wants to make a difference and help to shed light on the issues and barriers that both men and women are facing with in regards to gender equality.

This event was slightly different than typical SDI events, in that it was led mostly by discussions from the audience with a few speakers to inspire conversation. I was incredibly happy to see that we had a number of men attend the event, not only because it meant that they could hear women's struggles in the tech industry, but so that they could share their own experiences with gender inequality and give the group a different perspective.

Sally Bogg: Leeds Beckett University

Sally Bogg from Leeds Beckett University hosted the day and shared her story of how she got into a tech career. Sally also addressed how important diversity is when facing a technical skills gap. We need more people with the digital skills, but supply is simply not keeping up with demand. Recruiting from a wider talent pool and employing a diverse range of people with different skills can help to resolve the skills shortage and increase creativity and innovation within an organisation.

Anna Leyland: Sopra Steria

We had Anna Leyland from Sopra Steria share her company’s journey to achieve gender balance and what they are doing to encourage girls and women to become interested in tech and support them in their careers. Anna also shared Sopra Steria's next steps on their continuing efforts to support gender equality. For me, it is crucial to understand that supporting diversity and gender equality is an ongoing process; we must continue to work at improving ourselves, our businesses, and our industries to understand what we can be doing better and how we can continue to support a dynamic, diverse workforce.

Lara Hellman: Ivanti

Lara Hellman from Ivanti gave us an insight into the benefits of having gender balanced teams and how we can attract girls and support women in tech careers. One of Lara's main topics was about retaining women, as reportedly 56% of technical women leave at the mid-point of their career. I found this to be an interesting and critical point, as if we place all our focus on early career women at the risk of losing more senior employees. The gender balance in management and C-Level roles will ultimately be skewed. This could be detrimental to gender equality efforts, as well as efficiency and innovation of the organisation.

Hope for the Future

I also had the opportunity to share some stats I had gathered. For me, the most pertinent statistic was regarding the future for women in tech: 70% of respondents believe that more women will be encouraged to join a tech career, and 40% agree that the future will become more equal for women in tech in many aspects.

I believe this is important because it shows that people are hopeful for the future with regards to gender equality, and this sentiment was evident throughout the day. Delegates spoke about their issues and experiences, but there was a feeling of hope and optimism that the future will be better. They were eager to discuss and share ideas of what they could do within their organisations to improve their gender balance or support women’s career progression and development. If I could take one thing from the event, it would be that people are not only ready for change, but they want to be part of this change.

The discussions of the day were compiled into a report which looks to share the experiences of ITSM professionals with regards to gender equality, as well as the excellent tips and advice that was shared. A number of delegates were responsible for recruitment within their organisation and were able to provide us with excellent recruitment advice to attract more women to apply for jobs in tech. For our industry to become more diverse, in terms of genders, ages, ethnicities, religions, backgrounds, and skills, we need to be doing more to attract, recruit, and continually support a wider range of people to follow a tech career.

You can view the full report from the day here.