Secret to Solving Gender Imbalance in IT: Parent the Way They Do in China

The CIO of Global Risk Technologies™, Monica Eaton-Cardone, was interviewed by Don Tennant for IT Business Edge. The topic of conversation was something that Eaton-Cardone feels very passionate about: the gender imbalance within the IT profession.

From Eaton-Cardone’s background and education, to previous job roles and important opportunities that turned out to shape her successful career, Tennant address everything that has allowed Eaton-Cardone to get to where she is today–starting with how Eaton-Cardone grew up.

“There really wasn’t much of a difference between a boy and a girl—you went out on the farm and you got work done, and there were no exceptions.” From the outset, Eaton-Cardone did not see why gender would affect the opportunities in life. However, the pinnacle point in her life, that has really aided her career, was when she was encouraged to choose a subject out of the norm in school.

“The only classes that were available were wood shop and computer programming. So I enrolled in those classes, and you know what? I developed an aptitude for math. Prior to that, I hadn’t been very passionate about math—it was just a subject, and it wasn’t something I necessarily had an affinity for. But in wood shop, you deal with so many angles, and you actually find out how to apply numbers to create solutions. And then in computer programming, I wrote this little program, like a hangman [word game] program. That was the best class I had ever taken—I had so much fun in that class. But I got into this not anticipating that computer programming would be something that was creative and aesthetic, where you got to build something from the ground up and see it come to life.”

So how is this relevant to solving the gender imbalance in the IT? Eaton-Cardone believes parents need to take more responsibility in guiding their children down the right path. Encourage them to try everything, even if it’s not their favourite subject. Give them more opportunities to find out what they have an aptitude for. As Eaton-Cardone states in the article, look at countries like China and India and the parenting techniques that are adopted in those countries. What are they doing differently to make IT a balanced industry?

“I think we can learn from other countries that are successful at this without much effort, like China or India, for example. If you take a look at China, it’s nearly a 50/50 split between women and men in technology fields. What are they doing that’s different?”

Read the article in full here