Invest in women’s development on International Women’s Day – FE News
#ChooseToChallenge – #InternationalWomensDay allows us to celebrate the achievements of women, raise awareness of inequality issues and highlight the benefits of an inclusive world. Sadly, the events of the past year have cast a worrying light on gender progress.
Indeed, while interest in tech careers has increased since the pandemic, with more than one in five workers having taken tech training since the spring, only 3% of girls and women say a tech career is right. their first choice of employment. In addition, only 16% said they had ever been suggested this option, compared to a third of men. This must change.
On this International Women’s Day, we spoke to nine women tech experts, to learn about their own experiences and advice to other women, and find out what organizations can do to better support the advancement of women in the world. the fight for gender parity.
Is the tech industry a “man’s world”?
With men in higher management positions in the tech sector, calls for greater empowerment of women in the industry have not been lacking.
“When I look back on my career in the IT industry, I remember a time when the ideas and opinions of women were only rejected to be greeted positively when presented by their male counterparts.” said Donna Cooper, director of global marketing at WhereScape.
“Women openly criticized for having ‘left their children’ and ‘giving priority to work’; men were promoted and paid higher wages than women despite less experience and knowledge of the industry.
Hannah Fowler, Director of Global Operations (EMEA and Internal Operations) at Partners in globalization the experience echoes Donna’s:
“All the women I know say they have been underestimated at some point in their lives because of gender ‘assumptions’, implicit biases and disguised ‘excuses’ all of which present tangible barriers but often invisible.
“Underestimating someone in any scenario is hurtful and damaging. It is the product of ignorance and lack of courage, especially when it is the result of discrimination on the basis of an individual’s “characteristics”, appearance, voice, “demographics”, her femininity. “
Debra Danielson, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering at Digital Guardian, agrees that barriers remain for women in tech:
“As an industry, we still have serious pipeline issues to get girls and young women interested in the tech industry and STEM. We have problems attracting and retaining female university students interested in computers.
“We have problems recruiting and hiring enough women, retaining women beyond mid-career in tech, keeping women in tech careers, and not displacing them. We have pay equity and promotion equity issues and we must constantly fight the pervasive expectations that women are not as technical as men.
Straighten the balance
While there are many male allies, as well as women, striving for greater gender equality in the tech industry, women make up only 5% of leadership positions. What’s more, Mercer’s research found that men in high-tech companies earn 25% more than women.
Madelene Campos, software developer at BrightGauge, a ConnectWise solution, argues that to help solve this problem, organizations must work with their HR teams to ensure that their employees, regardless of gender, receive equal pay and benefits:
“We need to encourage more women to consider opting for careers in tech. Joining a support group that is inclusive and can give advice is a great way to get your foot in the door. There are many organizations that focus on and support groups that are underrepresented in tech, such as PyLadies and RailsGirls. Even though women don’t want to code, there are so many other opportunities within technology. It is important to understand that no one is born with technical skills. Learning to problem solve, think critically, and at the very least be aware of what’s going on in the tooling we use every day, is definitely worth the time and effort.
“To help restore the balance, companies should put in place processes and programs that actively encourage women to come forward,” adds Rajlakshmi Pandey, iOS developer at Eagle Eye Networks.
“These include things like internship programs for university students with flexible hours to accommodate current studies and staffing allocation for women in technical roles. “
“I am lucky because I have been able to transform my passion for IT, and more specifically my interest in Apple iOS, into a fulfilling and exciting career. I would like everyone – men and women – to have similar opportunities as well, and that is why I am a strong supporter of initiatives like International Women’s Day.
Strengthen female talents
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day – #ChooseToChallenge – welcomes the idea that with challenge comes change. Investing in female talent through learning and development is crucial if organizations are to change the balance of our boards.
Michelle Fitzgerald, Director of Demand Generation and Events at Pluto, explains how women should also take the time to invest in their own development.
“I find my biggest ongoing challenge has been taking the time to invest in myself, both professionally and personally. Taking the time to improve skills, learn new things, and just reload tends to take a back seat in the fast-paced world we live in. This year, making time a priority has improved my balance and allowed me to grow. “
She keeps : “At the end of the day, it’s about investing in yourself and connecting with others. Develop the skills you need to get to where you want to be. Then trust your intuition, but be open to asking for help and ideas when you need it.
“One way to demonstrate that female talents are identified, nurtured and promoted is to have visibility on women in leadership positions” advises Kate Mollett, Regional Director, Commvault Africa.
“As a result, we could attract young, aspiring female technologists to see Commvault as an employer of choice and worthy of their consideration when seeking employment in the IT industry. This in turn should give Commvault access to a larger pool of talent. “
The advantage of diversity
Diversity in the workplace – be it in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or anything else – can bring huge benefits to tech companies. “By embracing a more diverse talent pool, we are closing talent shortages and making progress towards closing the gap between talent supply and demand.” underlines Kasia Kulma, Senior Data Scientist – Team Lead at Mango Solutions (an Ascent company).
“More fundamentally, however, diversity brings a variety of perspectives, which has a ripple effect on increased creativity and therefore faster problem solving and improved products. But it’s not just the products that can improve in this way, the corporate culture too. Helping employees feel included, regardless of their background or gender, can break down barriers and reduce the fear of rejection. It’s a great way to empower your employees and harness their ideas and thoughts. And in addition, almost as a side benefit, attracting more top talent.
“Every business can benefit from gender diversity, which is why it is crucial to encourage more girls to study STEM in school and university” Fiona Hound, Pre-Sales Director at Totalmobile, concludes.
“From development and testing to pre-sales and more customer-oriented roles, there are more options in a career in technology than they realize.
“One of the most important ways to encourage more girls to embrace technology is visibility – seeing other women in various roles – showing them that it can be done and that women can do it. thrive in these careers. Many organizations have been created to work with schools and businesses to show girls what a career in tech could look like, such as Women Who Code, in which a number of our employees are passionately involved. talking to young women and girls about their work and pointing out that technology can be exciting and engaging is extremely powerful.
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