Women in Boardrooms on the Rise – the Female CIO Increase

Is the future of women C-suite executives reserved for the female CIO?

It is no secret that a high priority within boards recently has been to increase diversity. Whether it has been about age, ethnicity or gender, this process has seemed to go slow. However, there has been a shown increase of women representatives in the C-suite lately, especially for the position of CIO.

According to a study published by National Center for Women & Information Technology, NCWIT, women are promoted based on performance, while men are promoted based on potential. This is one of the reasons why the unconscious bias leads to a lower percentage of women in senior positions. However, this seems to be changing in the IT-world on a larger scale than in other business sectors.

It is often discussed that the technology world lacks female representation. Though now, multiple studies show that the percentage of women technology chiefs are higher than that of female CEOs or CFOs. Why women are more often promoted to CIOs than other executive roles have plenty of explanations, but mainly it can be explained by the fact it is a spoken about subject.

Is the future of the CIO role female?

In a recent publication by Deloitte it is stated that out of the 1 000 biggest US companies, 19% have a female CIO. This is compared to 12% of women CFOs and only 5% female CEOs.

Clearly, there is a bigger rise for women in technology than in other C-suite roles. That, maybe surprisingly, even as there are more women with a finance or legal background than one in tech. These findings can be a result from talking about the back-lash and previous harsh work environment for women in tech.

However, saying that the only way forward for women to the C-suite is via technology and information is obviously not correct. The key to adding women to the C-suite is getting rid of this “think manager, think male”-logic, and sometimes that needs to be forced just as it has and is right now within the tech industry.

The benefits of a CIO diverse from the team

A CIO helps connect IT to business, and studies has shown that there is a correlation with women in leadership positions and higher financial performance and company productivity.

It is also in the role of a CIO to be inventive. However, innovative change is less likely to come from a group with a homogenous knowledge base. According to a study done by NCWIT, having a leader diverse to the employee group will create discussions and lead to a broader mindset and new ways of thinking.

Different approaches to diversity also gives different outcomes. Organisations benefit most from diversity advantages when they create a supportive environment. This is being done at tech schools right now. Instead of only learning the trade, many schools also focus on social sciences and inclusiveness to prepare students for a future work culture. 

Why has there been an increase of having a female CIO?

According to a study by Equilar, having a female CEO brings more women into the boardroom. But seeing as the percentage of female CIOs are higher than the percentage of female CEOs, there are plenty of more reasons for this increase.

Mainly the explanation can be that within the tech industry there has been an empowerment focus lately, trying to get women to feel included in a previously male dominated business.

Why isn’t the increase of female C-suite executives bigger?

Clearly, this question is not easily solved as the gender gap is taking a long time to close. One reason undoubtedly being part of the problem is hiring biases, both conscious and unconscious. This prevents, especially newly degreed, women from being hired.

There are obstacles that women need to overcome as one can describe as a “leaky pipeline”, leading up to senior positions. As described in a Deloitte report, the way from entry level to executive is far harder for women than men. This starts with the hiring biases, leads on to isolation and side-lining in the work environment and keeps going with extensive salary differences.

However, in the same Deloitte publication, it is also stated that the two biggest barriers are the lack of female role models and female mentors. This results in exclusion from important networks that can help to further a career. A lack of other female representation can also increase discomfort and segregation within the work environment, leading women to pursue careers outside of male dominated trades.

DiliTrust promotes knowledge

In the world of corporate governance, one of the hot topics at the moment is diversity in the boardroom. Having knowledge about what is on our customers minds is a great priority at DiliTrust. This together with our great expertise in security software is what makes us the leader in governance solutions.

With the DiliTrust Exec software, keeping track of all board documents and matter becomes easier. Our software will help create an effective board communication, leaving the board members to focus on priorities.

Get in contact with our team of highly skilled consultants today, they are here to answer any questions regarding enhancement of management within board and executive committee meeting.

Our blog has more information on the subject: Gender parity – why is it so hard to reach?