I did not attend a lot of general sessions at #EDUCAUSE10. My schedule was set up in such a way that I was usually in back-to-back meetings or trying to find time to write for the blog. One of the sessions that I had been looking forward to ever since I found it on the conference schedule was the session titled: "The Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement of Women in Higher Education IT."
I found the session description to be particularly engaging: "The field of information technology has the potential to be a great gender equalizer. This panel session, sponsored by the Women in IT Constituent Group, focuses on overcoming the challenges of recruiting and retaining women in higher education IT. Men and women attending will get a better understanding of how (and why) to move toward gender parity in information technology."
The session format consisted of a panel of women CIO's who shared their stories of how they got to be where they are today. Honestly, I could have listened to them all day long. The entire room was listening as they poured out stories of inspiration, struggle, mentorship, and the future.
When the session began, I looked around the room to see who was present. To give you a bit of context, EDUCAUSE10 was definitely a majority male event. However, at this session, women outnumbered men by at least 4 to 1. While I was excited to be present in the session, I was disappointed that there were not more guys in the room. In fact, the CIO's in attendance at EDUCAUSE were given a different color for their name badges. I scanned the room looking for male CIO's. I must admit that it was rather disappointing to see how few male leaders were in the room. When the majority of CIO's are guys, and when we need more women leaders in IT, it is pretty clear to me that we have a problem if we can't get said guys to show up to a session about gender equity/advancement.
So I guess my question is, where were you guys? I learned a lot from just sitting in the room and listening...
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