Friday, April 22, 2005

Go, Sister Go!!

I work at the Singapore location of a European multinational. Recently the CIO payed us a visit. Since it was his 1st visit here, the CIO went around meeting the team and there was the conventional introduction and handshake routine. The Chief takes one look at me and exclaims... " But you don't fit into my idea of a Technical Consultant." , 'Really', I laughed', 'So what is your idea of one?' And then I got an answer which surprisingly managed to surprise me! He said "Well, you know... you don't expect a woman as a Technical Consultant' !!!??!!

Whyever not...? I am not offended but am ... surprised, to say the least, and maybe I shouldn't be. The general perception of a Techie is this geeky guy and I am yet to come across someone who harbors a vision with a female version! And yes, in Techworld as in any other there is the proverbial gender restrictive glass ceiling the women have to contend with! I am indeed the sole woman on my team and in earlier jobs I have several times been the only woman in the entire project team.

But inspite of all this the statement was unexpected. It is certainly not unusual to see women in software or for that matter in any sphere of technology. The world is opening up for the female of our specie and it is an exciting time indeed for us. Look around you, there are thousands of women like me working in the technological industries and it is no longer a male bastion exactly. There is no dearth of examples I could give to support this statement...Lucent Technologies, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Gillette, Del Monte, Avon, Citrix all have women CIO's. Gender Equations are being re-written more rapidly than any other time in history! And why, it is not just IT, the landscape is changing radically in every profession and every field.

But then I guess I have to understand that it might yet take many more years till the fixed mindset and perceptions change, gender bastions are breached completely and the glass ceiling is shattered! Until then each of us women can enjoy the prideful joy that comes out of being a forebear for coming generations of women who will someday study the 'Glass Ceiling' as a relic of the dead culture of male dominance.