How Women are Changing Technology

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Don’t know if you caught the recent MPN Live episode, The Three Ws: Women Watch Win, but I was lucky enough to have a free 30 minutes during my lunch hour last week.  I was scanning updates on FaceBook and noticed a post from the Microsoft Partner Network referencing the MPN Live stream.  Timing was good, I closed my office door and was ready to gain insight from the panel of women that had risen to the top in their careers.

The episode was hosted by Kat Tillman, Microsoft’s Digital Community Lead and featured a panel of female executives from around the globe.  As with all the MPN Live events there is a push to drive social chatter, so Kat posed a question and asked for responses via Twitter.  Her question really made me think – it was….(paraphrasing) what is the impact women are having on technology that is changing the way we do business.  Now, I have spent hours of research and time thinking through how the X and Y or Millennial generations have changed the office environment, but to be completely honest I had not taken the time to think through specifically the women within these groups.  One answer that the panel brought up rang especially true with me.  We have all talked about work/life balance and the need to juggle work, kids, aging parents, sickness, pregnancies, personal life and so much more.  One of the panelist touched on talent and where there is talent and drive and that entrepreneurial spirit, there is now much greater tolerance for woman “doing it all” on our timeframe.  Now, does that mean we get to slow down the process? I think we all know the answer to that is a resounding NO, but what we can do is schedule out our entire 24 hours to accommodate our needs.  Yes, this means I am sometimes putting together a proposal at 9am on a Saturday morning with kids bouncing around waiting to be entertained, but it also mean I rarely have to miss a kindergarten “elegant day” dance or feel guilty when an eleven year old just needs a mom for a day.  We women work hard and as long as we keep up our end of the bargain we have a bright future ahead.

You’re probably wondering what my Twitter response was, right?   Not sure it is as witty as I thought during the live stream, but I wrote:

Women know how to listen – using new technologies to connect and communicate with today’s consumers #MPNLive #WPC13. 

With today’s unified communication technologies we are enabled to communicate how and when is best for us.  Come visit me at the Lync Conference 2013 in San Diego. I’ll be demoing the Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) at Aspect’s Booth #8.

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2 thoughts on “How Women are Changing Technology

  1. We may be doing it all on our own time, but we’re still paying for in terms of real dollars. Women still earn only approximatley 75 cents on the dollar when compared to a man in the same job with the same experience. There’s still a glass ceiling out there.

    And the ability to do it all on your own time doesn’t apply to the majority of women in the workforce – in fact, it only applies to the priviledged few who happen to work for companies (usually technology compamies) who support such things as flex time and who are in jobs that support such things as telecommuting. For women with less education, working at blue collar jobs, the notion of doing it on “their own schedule” is a dream. Rather than asking how women are changing technology, shouldn’t we be asking how technology can change the lives of those women?

    Just a thought…

    1. Leslie – I completely agree and thank you for adding your comment, “there’s still a glass ceiling out there.” Yes there is and believe me, I am fighting like hell to help tear it down. One of my all-time favorite quotes, which gives me chills every time I hear it, is Hillary Rodham Clinton in her 2008 speech stepping down from the race for candidacy, “Although we were not able to shatter that highest and hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it has 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time, and we are going to keep working to make it so, today keep with me and stand for me, we still have so much to do together, we made history, and let’s make some more.”

      To your point about the flexibility for all women, you’re right, flex time in the workplace is being touted as much a “benefit” by companies to woo highly qualified employees as their 401k packages and VIP parking passes. When you boil it down, what does it mean for those of us working nine-to-five, weekends, graveyard shifts in the real world (for which I have done all)? The benefits of technology can be as mundane as keeping tabs on your twelve-year-old with a quick text sent during the workday, your husband sending texts with real-time pictures of a school talent show you are not able to attend due to your inflexible schedule, or a quick Skype chat on your phone during your only break to walk your son through how to boil water to cook noodles so he doesn’t start a fire. Given the choice, I’d rather have that video chat than have to wonder if he’s managed to burn the house down.

      The shift is slow yes, but do you think we’re moving in the right direction, or do you think real change is still too far in the future to see?

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