Cloud-Now | Closing the Gender Divide In Cloud Computing is an Imperative
CloudNOW is a non-profit consortium of the leading women in cloud computing and converging technologies, providing a forum for networking, knowledge sharing, mentoring, and career development, including merit-based STEM scholarship funding.
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Closing the Gender Divide In Cloud Computing is an Imperative

By Evelyn de Souza

Closing the Gender Divide In Cloud Computing is an Imperative

Cloud computing has become the term du jour in the industry and its evolution is fast enabling the bulk of IT-enabled capabilities to be delivered as highly scalable and elastic services via the Internet.   Though the industry has seen the rise of this and other great technological revolutions, the gender evolution is moving much more slowly.

Bridging the gender gap in cloud computing matters. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that women made up only 17.4 per cent of computer science graduates in 2012.  How can solutions for our future be architected primarily based on the input of the XY chromosome and without input from the XX chromosome?  It’s the Yin without the Yang.  While there are some impressive female role models today in the cloud computing industry, having women in more balanced numbers across engineering and product functions will lead to more innovative and functional solutions.

CloudNOW is playing a pivotal role in steering women into cloud computing development and leadership roles. Its founder and CEO, Jocelyn DeGance Graham has a remarkable intuition for sensing market transitions and acting ahead of them. Named by Everything Channel CRN as one of the 100 most influential women in IT, Jocelyn also serves on the Advisory Board for Cloud Connect.

When starting out at HP as a graduate student she noted that in the meetings that took place across companies and teams, women averaged out to be only 15% of the participants It became clear to Jocelyn that cloud was also going to become the platform for future technology development and that a support group was needed to nurture women into leadership and mainstream engineering roles.  It also became clear that such a support group and mainstreaming could only be successful by working directly with the industry and male colleagues.  

Jocelyn founded CloudNOW in the fall of 2011 and has grown its membership to over 1000.  CloudNOW provides a forum for executive women to grow their share of voice and a platform to identify and grow emerging talent. These events range from power talks to webcasts to social gatherings where women can exchange ideas, and are conducted as part of the core industry conversation, not as an aside.  Jocelyn is a powerful role model herself having pioneered the cyber insurance industry for cloud in conjunction with Mary Beth Borgwing and more recently has been focused on the movement to commoditize cloud and build the world’s first truly viable IaaS exchange .

Since 2011 CloudNOW has awarded Top Women in Cloud.  These awards not only provide women the recognition to propel their careers but also raise awareness of them as powerful role models the cloud computing industry can gravitate towards as this CRN profile of the 2013 Top Women in Cloud demonstrates.

CloudNOW has recently begun efforts to nurture leadership from high school age similar to other STEM efforts but with the focus being cloud and the nexus of other technology forces such as mobile, IoT, and big data. CloudNOW hopes to be offering college scholarships for aspiring young women to study STEM in the next 18 months.

As you embrace cloud, be sure to think about ways you can help bridge the gender divide:

  • Encourage girls and women who are interested in cloud technology to seek the support of CloudNOW
  • Attend their Awards Event
  • Find ways to attract women as you look to hire for engineering and product development roles

To learn more about CloudNOW, Jocelyn DeGance Graham can be contacted at Jocelyn@cloud-now.org

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