The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) recently launched the ITAC Women on Boards Registry. The registry profiles 33 women who are highly experienced in the technology field and are qualified and interested in a board of director appointment. The campaign also involves inviting technology executives to a series of “Board Discovery Days” where educators, corporate directors and thought leaders will talk about board governance.
ITAC represents a diverse ICT community spanning telecommunications and internet services, consulting services, hardware, microelectronics, software and electronic content. ITAC says its community accounts for more than 70 per cent of the local industry’s 572,000 jobs.
However, Mary Whittle, chair of the ITAC Women on Boards Committee, deplored the poor track record of Canadian firms when it comes to hiring women into top IT positions.
Whittle hopes Canadian businesses will use the registry to find the best female talents available in the country.
According to ITAC, the organization recognized the importance of gender diversity in the IT industry back in 2008. While encouraging firms to hire more women, the industry association also increased the number of women in its national board by 30 per cent.
ITAC commissioned a white paper to better understand the dynamics of the gender diversity board debate.
The 2013 white paper written by Karen Wensley, Gender Diversity of Boards of Directors of Canadian ICT Companies cited a few obstacles: CEO’s and nominating committees “didn’t have many women in their leaderships’ network and they didn’t know where to look to find them.”
For instance, ITAC said, in December 2015, there were 37 (9.2 per cent) women directors on TSX Tech 60 company boards which are less than 10 per cent of total board seats; 11 were from the US and 26 (6.5 per cent) were from Canada.
“As an industry association we need to demonstrate leadership and support initiatives important to Canada’s technology companies, and feel this robust registry will help companies overcome the obstacles uncovered in our research,” said Robert Watson, president and CEO, ITAC.
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