This week on the CDW Solutions blog we are celebrating the birthday of Ada Lovelace, born 201 years ago, and considered by many to be the world’s first computer programmer. You’ll notice I did not use the word “female” in that designation, “first female computer programmer,” because she was the first — period. In a more perfect world, there would be nothing notable about her gender. But in our world, this is notable.

This fact was hit home to me at a recent Internet of Things convention I attended in Chicago. Having some time to kill after lunch, I talked my way into a “Women in IoT” luncheon sponsored by IoT Emerge, the convention’s host. First, I was surprised to see that they were offering wine and champagne to attendees (certainly not offered at the buffet I had earlier partaken of). But my attention was quickly diverted to the stage, where powerhouse speaker and serial entrepreneur Sandy Carter was presenting some cutting insights about gender  equality in Silicon Valley.

Here’s a couple of doozies that are diametrically opposed to each other:

  • Startups run by women are 15 percent more profitable than those led by men.
  • Women are 40 percent less likely to get funding for their projects and businesses.

Wait a second, I thought at that time, aren’t venture capital firms all about the dollar? If they have data that supports the profitability of women-led startups, why are they getting shortchanged on funding? It’s certainly not about the economics. It’s one symptom of a more widespread problem: the disparity of women to men in the IT workforce generally.

Sandy has spoken on this topic quite a bit. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out her TED Talk: “Women Rock! Paper Scissors.” You’ll never look at the game Rock-Paper-Scissors the same way again. She pitches one piece of advice toward men, suggesting that men who value diversity and all of the benefits it brings to the workplace need to step up and lend their voice to the conversation more loudly.

So here I am.

To help bring some attention to this issue, we decided to devote a week of posts to the topic of women in IT. I reached out to female coworkers here at CDW and asked them to share their thoughts and experiences around this topic — whatever their point of view might be. I hope you take the time to visit the CDW Solutions blog throughout the week. I think you’ll find their posts wide-ranging and perhaps eye-opening.

As one of our bloggers this week, Kathryn Averyheart, points out in her upcoming post, this is neither a male nor a female issue, it’s a human issue. We all have a stake in addressing it. We look forward to hearing your thoughts too, so be sure to comment on the posts.

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