A recent panel discussion at the Collaborate 11 Oracle user conference concluded that mentors and sponsors are crucial to helping women advance their careers in information technology (IT). The panelists said that women need to constantly push themselves forward in addition to finding somebody who can help them.
Oracle's Beth Renstrom says that women need to take ownership of the value they bring to the organization. "Take ownership of what you have done and make sure you are letting people know what you have accomplished," Renstrom says.
It also is important for a woman in IT to find someone to mentor and sponsor her within the organization, says Hitachi Consulting's Helen Berg. Women who are in positions of power need to be willing to mentor those that are new to the field, Renstrom says.
Mentoring can be useful in organizations where women are not organized into groups, notes DRW's Michelle Malcher. In 2009 just 25 percent of U.S. IT professionals were women, compared to 31 percent in 1991, according to the National Center for Women & IT. In addition, just 18 percent of college degrees awarded in computer and information sciences in 2008 went to women, down more than 50 percent from 1985.
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