Cut to the Chase – Tacoma's Tech Column – Fridays in the IndexTechnology Tears Down Barriers for Women in Work and Life

“Working women are finding better opportunities in this, the era of technology. Telecommuting, business-to-consumer web sites, improved access to information, and a faceless environment create an equal playfield for women in business today.Women of past generations had to choose between career and family, when society allowed them to choose at all. Technology is leading a revolution, allowing woman to have it all. My interest in the opportunities of our technology driven generation is not as an outsider. During my last year at Ohio State University I was faced with what would have been a career altering decision during my grandmother’s lifetime. My first child was birthed during midterm examination week during a quarter when I was taking over twenty credit hours. I completed all my credits, made the Dean’s List, and delivered my beautiful son, Dylan. The editor of the Ohio State Lantern granted my story special recognition. My success story was held up as an example of a telecommuting program at the university.One class was held exclusively over the Internet. Other professors e-mailed notes and assignment instructions to my laptop, which I could access from home or the hospital. This is just one example of how technology has enabled me to pursue a career, while leading a fulfilling personal life.Many mothers are finding work to be more attractive. About 70% of mothers now work, up from 40% in 1970. Jennifer Caisse, Web Developer at Web-X, balances the duties of being a single-mother and the responsibility of implementing site production.Telecommuting created flexibility in her work schedule at different times during her career. She credits business-to-consumer websites for alleviating menial tasks. New services such as online banking and grocery shopping save time that can be reallocated to tasks at work or home.Dana Greenlee, President of LoudVox, credits the Internet’s faceless environment for enabling the evaluation of work based purely on merit. She recounts a famous quote, Your dog could be your CEO and you’d never know it on a web site, because you don’t have a face on the web. She continued to connect this analogy to the business climate for woman, Business people would not discriminate against a woman, because they don’t know that a woman necessarily runs the company. It’s purely evaluated by the data you put on your web site.Dana also described a woman’s networking group that teaches technology skills to members. The group called Webgrrls encourages and facilitates opportunities for women to achieve their personal and professional goals and to foster an interest in technology within the greater community of women.The web provides many advantages for the modern workingwoman. The term, old boys club, is familiar to most professionals. Unlimited access to information, including salary comparison charts and corporate research, enables woman to break through what was once considered, the glass ceiling. It is now possible for a woman to know her valuation in the marketplace based on title not gender. Moreover, corporate research capabilities enable any skilled navigator of electronic information to produce incredible reports and projections overnight.Productivity is not the only key element to promotion in the era of technology. Creativity is highly valued and well received. Specifically in the technology industry, innovation is a pillar that supports the entire industry. Tacoma is to be commended for its climate of innovation. City and business leaders in our community receive projects such as E-business Day and SST 2000 with open arms. In the short time that I have in the #1 wired city it has become apparent that as Dana says, you could be a dog and present a creative idea that is beneficial to the city and it will receive a warm welcome. Many readers may try to label me a feminist. I assure you that I like to have doors held open for me. And perhaps the picture I’ve painted of opportunities for businesswomen is not as rosy for everyone. However, I believe in projecting an image that commands respect. After all, I am able to open doors for myself. Technology provides tools that enable any person to work efficiently in their business and personal life. Diligence and efficiency command respect from supervisors and peers evaluating your work. Perhaps the biggest change in the technology era is the sharing of roles and responsibilities at home. In the past women were persecuted and discriminated against based on their domesticity or role as a parent. The sharing of domestic and parental duties creates a culture where women can truly compete on an equal playing field. To my husband and other men of his nature I say, Thank you, Brian! More information about Webgrrls is available at call or email Jamie Chase at 253-573-1030, or with comments or suggestions for topics.Jamie Chase is vice president of public and investor relations for ContractQuest. Chase is the founder of E-business Day in Tacoma – Thursday, August 24.”