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Women in project management

Today, women are leading projects worldwide as proven leaders, advocates for advancement of project management in their organizations, and are represented in many industries such as information technology, healthcare, aerospace, construction (bridges, buildings, highways) and are entrepreneurial consultants, board members and PMI® Fellows.

The women in The Glass Breakers group, a network which aims to inspire women to lead, have each given their side of the story when it comes to being a successful woman in project management.

The Glass Breakers network

The following series of interviews with The Glass Breaker members will teach both women and men the philosophy behind the group, and what drives them to inspire their peers.

Lindsay Scott, a Glass Breaker member and Director of project management recruitment agency Arras People, enlightens us with gender pay gap statistics, gender ratios and sets us straight on a few misconceptions and stereotypes.

Naomi Caietti speaks out about her own experience with “the glass ceiling” and the positive attributes women bring into project management.

Deanne Earle and Alexia Nalewaik discuss the importance of progressing your career with the support of a mentor, champion or role model.

The Internet is full of opinions and research papers on whether gender contributes to project success or effective leadership. By applying their extensive experience, knowledge and passion, The Glass Breakers aim to challenge stereotypes to paint a positive picture of women who work in project management today.

Project management and the glass ceiling

Naomi Caetii, CEO of a woman’s network called The Glass Breakers has never experienced the glass ceiling within project management. However she admits that even though women have a lot of choices for a career path in the field of project management, they need more role models, sponsors and mentors.

Naomi has successfully excelled in her career into top executive positions, has been part of a mentoring program and currently shares her passion and drive to inspire other women to lead. Working in a male dominated profession such as IT can be challenging, but does gender really make a difference?

“Women don’t need permission to lead; they need to step up, have a voice, sit at the table and find good sponsors to help guide them in their career path.”

Read Naomi Caietti's interview

A male dominated profession

Lindsay Scott, Director of Arras People gives her experience from the project management recruitment perspective. Every year Arras People monitors their recruitment statistics and compiles the Project Management Benchmark Report. Over the last nine years the gender splits between male and female practitioners has been roughly 70:30 in favour of men. Lindsay states that in 2014’s Benchmark Report she focussed on the next generation and was surprised to see current student ratios at 53:47 – in favour of women. When asked why she thought the project management field was male dominated, Lindsay stated:

“I think it’s a legacy thing. Project management has been associated with male dominated sectors such as construction, rail, manufacturing etc. for decades.”

Read Lindsay Scott's interview

Role models, perceptions and career progression

Deanne Earle and Alexia Nalewaik are also founding members of The Glass Breakers network. During their interview they both promoted the benefits and importance of having mentors, champions and role models. Alexia describes the big difference between the three as follows. Mentors give advice, share their experiences and listen. Champions are more pro-actively contribute to a person’s advancement. A role model can be anyone – male, female, actress, prime minister, CEO or athlete.

Deanne is an active professional within the social media space and offline networking groups. She strongly believes in project managers building a personal brand for themselves outside of their organisation. She suggests participating in groups and activities outside of your daily routine, as well as attending conferences, educating yourself and collecting testimonials from colleagues.

“Think about your own work and career. Where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve? Develop yourself in your organisation and as an individual.”

Read Deanne Earle and Alexia Nalewaik's interview

PMI® is a registered mark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

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