There are many challenges for women in the IT industry, such as the overwhelming number of men in comparison to women and a lack of encouragement, according to Gretchen Miller, a Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event attendee who previously worked for the Round Rock, Tex.-based Dell Inc. as a director of product marketing.

Catherine Graham, the managing director of the Toronto-based Rightsleeve Marketing Inc. and member of the DWEN, hosted an event this week at her home in Toronto for prospective DWEN members, among them IT professionals.
 
Miller spent about 11-and-a-half years working in the IT industry for Dell and most of the IT people she dealt with were men. Encouraging more math and sciences in schools will help encourage women to go into technology, she said. 

Lucy La Grassa, the president of two technology companies, the Toronto-based Formidable Technologies Inc. and Zee Big Bang, also works mostly with men as well.

Formidable Technologies offers three software-as-a-service (SaaS) options: one for online video editing suites for film and television media, the second for business intelligence analytics to track, manage and report carbon offsets. The third SaaS is acting as a Brightcove solutions partner offering to change business Web sites from static to video capable ones.
 
La Grassa’s other company, Zee Big Bang, is a business-to-business entertainment Web-based company. It caters to arts and entertainment companies who are looking for professionals in the same field. For instance, if a production company needs a camera operator in Italy, it can find them on the site, according to La Grassa.
 
“I think there’s a very steep learning curve,” La Grassa said.
La Grassa has a background in business and technology. However, it is not just about women understanding technology; it is about communicating what they are doing, and women are very good at this sort of communication, she said.
 
“I recommend women go into IT,” she said. However, many women are reluctant because they think it’s science-based and this intimidates them.
 
“(IT) is not just about the mechanics, it is about what you are accomplishing,” she said. “The excitement comes after what you’ve accomplished. I think (IT) is an avenue that, once women are in, they’ll enjoy it.”
 
La Grassa makes an effort to hire women to combat the issue of there being few women in IT, she said. “Women are very strategic when it comes to IT.”
 
 


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