We all know that Information technology (IT) careers are where we all want to be.
By working in this field you are able to obtain a valuable education and skill set, opportunities for growth and promotion, and the security of financial and job stability. However, women in tech are significantly underrepresented in the workforce. Even though there has been progression in the past few years, it is still widely known that IT is primarily male-dominated.
Gender diversity is one of the biggest obstacles that all modern-day companies and corporations need to overcome. There are three main goals for promoting women in tech. We must establish gender diversity as a core value during the hiring process, have more women in senior-level positions, and expand the STEM pipeline for young women.
Gender Diversity Must Be A Core Value
Currently, about half of women in STEM jobs feel like women face discrimination in recruitment, hiring, and promotions, according to a Pew Research study.
To encourage diversity among all levels of management, tech companies must engrain fair gender practices into their hiring processes. This means that both men and women should have a fair shot for hiring without facing fears of biases or stereotypes.
Recognizing Biases in Leadership and Hiring Processes
Hiring managers and executive leaders can undergo anti-bias training to acknowledge why some of their biases can be harmful to women and underrepresented groups. According to an article by Fast Company, tech employees can learn from effective anti-bias training if it is approached in the right way. If the training allows people from the tech industry to come up with examples and solutions, then they can find ways to incorporate these solutions into their work.
Hiring managers and executive leadership who undergo this type of training can realize the error in their ways and implement strategies that change their behaviors when hiring. For instance, Stanford professor Shelly Correll who has researched bias training, suggests that hiring managers develop an objective performance list to prevent possible bias from creeping in.
Fostering a Community Where Women Belong
According to an article by Forbes, many professional women often lack confidence in their skills or their work. Being in a male-dominated environment and culture may also make women feel isolated and alone, or foster sentiments of imposter syndrome if they don’t have much experience.
Hiring and retaining women in technology requires changes in culture and community. Women and particularly women of color, need to feel like they are a part of the community. Hiring managers should also make efforts to encourage women to apply for leadership positions.
Women in Tech Can Inspire So Many More Women in Tech
Having female leaders in technology can be inspiring, not just for young girls, but for any woman in a tech company who hopes to one day advance in her career.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many C-suite women. According to the 2018 Entelo Women in Tech Report, only 10% of executive-level positions are held by women. Furthermore, the study found that women account for 16% of senior-level positions. However, if a technology company wants to thrive, then leaders should consider hiring more women for management-level positions.
In the past few years, there have been numerous studies proving a widely diverse labor pool benefits a company’s efficiency, innovation, and overall revenue.
A study by Harvard Business Review found that women influence companies’ performance in two major ways. Having a female leader in top management provides increased skill diversity and decreases gender discrimination throughout management levels.
Tech companies also need to start giving recognition to and celebrating women in tech for their accomplishments. If women tech employees are making breakthroughs in their projects or positions, their work should be celebrated and noted. Later on, this can be beneficial when women are applying for management-level positions.
Expand the STEM Pipeline
The need for more women in tech first begins with getting more women interested in and exposed to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
In elementary and high school, young girls can be encouraged to code and learn about STEM. The more opportunities available the better. Not only does it give them a chance to learn about the wide range of career opportunities available, but it can also allow them to realize what a true technology community is like.
According to a 2020 report from Gallup and Google, 53% of principals surveyed said that their school has a computer science course. Communities with low-income schools or rural schools are often less likely to offer computer science or coding courses, which can affect young girls of color and low-income households. If we hope to expose everyone to fundamental skills like coding, then these concepts need to be taught in every school.
Adult learners also have the opportunity to transition into a STEM career. Southern Careers Institute offers training programs in software development, data science, and cyber security powered by WOZ. You can learn key skills for a tech job while also receiving mentorship and career-building opportunities.
Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.
Abigail Lindsey is a biochemical research technician who is currently working at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Therapeutics Discovery while pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University. She also has experience in the digital marketing and sales industry, as a photographer and graphic designer, sales representative, recruitment specialist, social media coordinator, and content writer.
This article was published on: 04/14/21 12:05 AM