FIFA Women's World Cup

Whether an athlete in the FIFA Women’s World Cup or executive in teh boardroom, women are coming up in the their field.

Excitement over the U.S. women’s soccer team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals is sweeping the country, generating interest in a sport usually associated with men. The U.S. women’s team ranks second only to Germany, and as it seeks to recover from a devastating loss to Japan in the final seconds of the Women’s World Cup final four years ago, the entire nation is on its toes. Who says women can’t be just as competitive as men in the world of soccer?

Yet it is highly unusual for women’s sports to receive as much attention as men’s sports. Despite the fact that women compete just as frequently and seriously as men, they seldom have as many followers as the men’s teams. In fact, when it comes to college and professional athletics, unequal funding for women’s sports is more pronounced. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, female students comprise 57% of college student bodies, but only received 43% of participation opportunities – over 55,000 fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.

The pattern of sports interest for women mirrors their success in business. On the salary side of the equation, even though women have made up 50% of college grads since the 1980s, they are still paid only 77 cents to the dollar. They also hold only 25 of the CEO positions in the Fortune 500, or 5%, as of January 2015. Sadly, the percent of corporate Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions held by women in 2014 was only 6%, according to the  National Center for Women & Information Technology.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told Mashable‘s Christina Warren that this lack of gender diversity is the tech industry’s own fault. “I think it’s our fault — ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” he told Mashable. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”

Cook says one way to help resolve that situation is to provide more female role models. That’s where initiatives like the CRN Women of the Channel list come in. Women of the Channel is an annual list honoring outstanding female executives across vendor channel organizations, distributors, solution providers and other women prominently involved in the IT channel ecosystem for their successes and the far-reaching impact they are having on the technology industry going forward. The Power 100 spotlights an elite subset of Women of the Channel honorees whose insight and influence in their respective companies help drive channel success.

“These executives have made a lasting mark on the industry, expanding the breadth of influence in the technology channel,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “We congratulate the Women of the Channel, and celebrate their innovative contributions and commitment to the IT channel community.”

At Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS), for example, three of its female executives were named to the CRN lists this year, including Melissa McCoy, VP of Channels and Alliances, who was recognized as one of this year’s Power 100 and named to the 2015 CRN® Women of the Channel. In addition, both Cristina Greysman, Director, Partner Experience, and Sarah Hamilton, Sr. Director, Solutions and Alliances Marketing, were also named to the 2015 CRN® Women of the Channel list.

Sungard AS even created a female character in its new series of superhero cartoon characters – the Resilient 4 – intended to serve as a marketing campaign to illustrate the different kinds of IT leaders needed to manage resilience in today’s competitive business environment.  BC, or Business Continuity, is a super-powered female character who is agile and always prepared. BC helps organizations manage their complex IT environments today and train for encountering the IT obstacles and villains of tomorrow.

Will soccer – or IT – become a burgeoning new career path for women in the near term? Probably not just yet. But with time, the Meg Whitmans and Sheryl Sandbergs of tomorrow will be just as celebrated and uplifted as the Abby Wambachs and Hope Solos of today.

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