Gartner's latest piece of CIO research focuses on the differences in budgets, priorities and agendas of male and female CIOs, breaking the shocking news that "our survey data is encouraging in that it shows many positive similarities between women and men in the CIO role".
The analyst house is selling the 16-page report for $495, although for free you can read the accompanying press release and newsroom announcement loaded with similar language.
We hear the bombshell that "the technology priorities of female and male CIOs are more similar than they are different" - and that "women are embracing some digital trends in the same way as their male counterparts and, in some cases, even more so".
"Even more so" - how about that?! Bless them, the woman CIOs and their digital trends.
The press release comes with the headline: 'Women CIOs report higher IT budget increases than their male counterparts'. The report itself has the more dubious title: '2014 CIO Agenda - A Perspective on the Priorities of Women and Men'.
This is classic Gartner - a somewhat sensationalised headline to try and sell their latest report, which probably includes some really interesting insight. But what we're told is that female CIOs will see budget increases of 2.5%, their male counterparts increases of 0.2%. No mention of statistical significance testing however, we can only assume that's explained in the full study.
The problem is, as Gartner even acknowledges when looking at priorities - there is no difference between female and male CIOs.
That's because there's no such thing as a male or female CIO - there are just CIOs, some of whom have two X chromosomes, and some of whom just the one. Of course their priorities are the same.
Here it must be noted the report is focused solely on technical challenges and not looking at softer skills, personality types, or physiological differences affecting male and female behaviour - which is a subject for those far more informed and far smarter than myself. The Gartner investigation looks at gender's role in technological agenda and how men and women rank business analytics, mobile, the cloud, infrastructure and data centre, and ERP systems.
Perhaps I'm overly-romanticising the world by saying this is not a worthy line of study; finding out if a person's inherent womanliness means they're more likely to want to overhaul an ERP system, in the same way that I would not bother to investigate whether black CIOs prioritise cloud computing to underpin their mobile strategy, or if gay CIOs like to focus on desktop virtualisation.
Undeniably women working in the technology face their own challenges in an overwhelmingly white and male world. The recent CIO 100 was 7% female, while last year Harvey Nash reported a global figure of 8% and Gartner itself 13%.
But these are different challenges altogether - problems with recruitment, with promotion, with institutional sexism, with lower take-up of STEM subjects at secondary or tertiary academic levels, with everyday sexism and a host of other factors each the subject of separate discussions.
And this is where Gartner really lets everyone down if they truly wanted to tackle a gender study. Having spoken to 2,339 CIOs they are in a unique position to look at the different industries and then investigate where the real gender bias is. Are women massively underrepresented in the construction or manufacturing industries, for example? What about retail? If we have a sample size large enough to draw sound conclusions, is a CIO who happens to be female working in the finance sector less likely to report to the chief executive than a man?
One of the daftest lines runs that female CIOs are more likely to have a chief digital officer present in their organisation than men. Such a statement is worthless without looking at industries, and at its worst even implies that a woman CIO couldn't possibly run the technology estate on their own without a separate digital leader. (As an aside, the CDO Club reported this week that the advertising, media and publishing industries employed more than half of all CDOs - ergo if we knew proportionally how many female CIOs operated in those industries we might be able to reveal some insight.)
Proportionally low numbers suggest there are barriers for women working in the technology industry, and in the last month I have written almost as many 'women in technology' stories as I have articles about technology which include women. This isn't desirable and hopefully one day it won't be necessary. I don't know if writing those articles makes me part of the problem or part of the solution, but I also don't believe Gartner's investigation into technological priorities and agendas based on gender is helping.