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Equalizing IT

ORLANDO, Fla. -- SNW -- There aren't enough women managers in storage networking -- and it may have something to do with women themselves.

"I still walk into some conference rooms and meetings where I'm the only woman," said Deborah Johnson, CEO of Infinity I/O Inc. , a firm that provides training and SNIA certification, during a presentation at SNW here today. "Twenty years ago, I expected that. Now, there should be more women."

Though women account for 50 percent of buyers and investors in IT products and services and make up 41 percent of the total IT workforce, they are grossly underrepresented in IT decision-making, Johnson contends, citing research from the Catalyst Group consultancy. Fewer than one-quarter of women in IT are in professional roles.

There are many reasons for the ongoing lopsidedness. Typically, Johnson noted, women lack line experience in influential corporate roles, such as hiring and setting budgets. Women are often excluded from the informal networks that determine how things are done in many organizations. And women fall victim to stereotyping and preconceptions about roles and abilities, particularly in IT.

To amend the situation, women need to load up on leadership attributes, she said. These include inspiring vision in colleagues and employees; demonstrating personal accountability for what happens in an organization; empowering others through solid management; communicating clearly; and taking risks.

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