Skip to content
Group of women smiling, laughing
Arrow left Resources

From Challenges to Change: Advancing Women’s Roles in IT

As the information technology (IT) industry continues to undergo rapid growth and disruption due to technological advancements, is the pace of inclusivity keeping up? To address this, Judge’s Women’s Empowerment (WE) Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosted a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of external women leaders in IT. The discussion focused on the challenges women face in the industry such as gender bias, wage gaps, and workplace culture, along with strategies and advice to help create a more inclusive IT world for the next generation. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the key takeaways from the discussion and explore the specific challenges faced by women in IT. We’ll also unpack the valuable strategies and advice they offered for building a more welcoming and equitable IT space for women of all backgrounds. 

Mentorship is key

Kristen Lamoreaux, President & CEO of Lamoreaux Search and the driving force behind SIM Women, emphasized the transformative power of mentorship. She candidly shared, “I have been incredibly lucky and can truly point back to everything that I have today because of mentorship.”  

Kristen’s journey as a former mentee underscores the profound impact that guidance, support, and mentorship can have on an individual’s professional growth. It’s a reminder that lifting each other up and fostering meaningful connections can shape our paths in remarkable ways.  

Melanie Kohler, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Co-Chair of the SIM Ally Mentor Program, also believes that mentoring is a way to give back. Getting involved in local mentorship and leadership programs is a win-win situation for everyone. “Mentoring for me is part of the giving back,” Melanie shared. “Mentoring through universities is a great way to connect with those who are just starting out in their careers.”  

Her advice? Find a program that aligns with your interests, and rest assured that these institutions will be enthusiastic about your participation. Whether you’re seeking to be mentored or considering becoming a mentor yourself, getting involved can be incredibly rewarding.  

You deserve respect – from others and from yourself

From navigating passive-aggressive coworkers to grappling with self-doubt, women in the tech industry often encounter a unique set of difficulties. These challenges can be as formidable as the intricate algorithms they work with, yet they persistently strive to break barriers and excel. 

Jennifer Frost, Head of Frost Consulting and SIM Ally Mentor Program Co-Chair, shared how she learned to overcome self-doubt.  

“There’s a trick I learned early on in my career,” Jennifer shared. “I would often become nervous walking into meetings and think everyone was smarter than me. But then one day on dawned on me – everyone in this room is smart and an expert in a certain area, and so am I. I belong in this room, too.”    

Her story doesn’t end there. Whether it was asserting her ideas during team meetings or advocating for her work in one-on-one interactions, Jennifer embraced her role as an advocate for herself and her contributions. Her proactive stance not only bolstered her own career but also set a precedent for others. 

Speaking up for yourself and your work, whether it is in meetings with other coworkers or during one-on-one interactions, is significant. Taking a proactive stance and addressing such issues head-on is essential for maintaining a healthy work environment.   

Advocate for each other

Breaking free from misconceptions and actively supporting other women is something that Leona Thomas, a Technology Executive and SIM Board Member, actively encourages. “Dismiss the myth that women in tech aren’t here because we are. Get to know some of us and help to spread that word,” Leona expressed.  

“If you are in a position of power, the best thing you can do is share your connections because that gives people new opportunities they would not have or know about. You cannot compete for something you aren’t aware of,” explained Leona.  

Leona’s call to action is a reminder that advocacy goes beyond mere words; it’s about creating tangible opportunities for women by opening doors that were previously closed. It’s about recognizing the strength in diversity and actively working to dismantle the barriers that prevent women from fully participating in the tech arena. 

As we stand at the crossroads of technological innovation and social change, the insights from Judge’s Women’s Empowerment panel serve as a beacon, guiding us towards a more inclusive future in IT. The stories of resilience, the strategies for success, and the advocacy for mentorship shared by these inspiring women leaders empower us. Together, we can dismantle barriers, dispel myths, and create an IT ecosystem where diversity thrives, voices are amplified, and the next generation of leaders emerges.