4 Reasons to Get Involved in the Movement for More Women in Tech

By | Small Business

The tech industry is facing a discouraging trend for 2015 – women are leaving it in droves! What’s interesting is that most women don’t seem to cite any one particular occurrence of blatant sexism or harassment as reasons for leaving. In fact, reports from major publications such as Fortune and the Chicago Tribune highlight a much more subtle issue at hand – isolation. Many women are discussing how they feel or have felt unappreciated, stuck, and ultimately isolated at tech companies that seem to favor the opposite sex in terms of praise, promotions, and overall inclusion in the workplace culture.

“There are a lot of things that piled up over the years. I didn’t know how to move forward. There was a lot I had to put up with in the culture of tech. It just didn’t seem worth it.” said Garann Means, former programmer of 13 years in a report by the Chicago Tribune.

Unfortunately, this subtle sense of isolation has led to the resignation of many talented female minds, including Means who left her job after 15 years. 15 years she spent without achieving a management position.

If you ask industry experts (male and female!) it’s imperative that we turn this trend around. So what do you say we show our amazing female techies just how much they mean to the growth of our beloved industry? Keep reading to find out why our industry NEEDS the push for women in tech to succeed, and why you should get behind the movement.

1. Diversity Drives Innovation

“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” Says Margaret Hefernan, a successful CEO of five businesses.

Basically, an industry that lacks diversity will fail to reach its full potential for innovation and growth. Women and minorities bring different life experiences and perspectives to the tech industry. These differences in perspectives and values spark the critical friction necessary to push the bounds of possibility and create gadgets, apps, tools, and software that solve new problems and meet unique needs.

2. Inclusion Leads to Adaption

As the tech industry sees more women enter its bounds, it becomes a more inviting place for others. A critical issue in working as a woman in a male-driven industry is feeling a bit out of place. When gender diversity is low, women tend to be treated differently than male coworkers, and often have trouble making connections and building healthy workplace relationships.

“I currently work for a company that employs plenty of kickass women, but in past tech positions I have struggled with a sense of loneliness at work. No matter how often male coworkers say you’re ‘one of the guys,’ there are many times when you don’t get invited to after-work activities simply because it would be awkward or seem inappropriate from an HR perspective. When there are more women, it takes away the one-on-one aspect and relieves that pressure,” says Clair Jones, home automation and technology expert at LocalInternetService.com. 

3. We Need Great Leaders

In a test of 16 core leadership competencies administered by Business Insider, results showed that women tested higher than men in 12 of the 16 areas. The study tested 45,000 leaders in a wide variety of industries. Each leader had about 13 respondents including mangers, direct reports, and peers to evaluate their performance. Additional results from this same study showed that women earned a score 2.7 points higher than male leaders in overall leadership effectiveness.

The numbers don’t lie. Strong women leaders have the potential to accomplish amazing things. We just need more of them!

competencies chart

leadership chart

4.Diversity is Attractive

Computing jobs are expected to more than double by 2020, to 1.4 million (LA Times). Women currently make up about 50% of the student population in introductory computer science departments at elite institutions such as Stanford and Berkeley (Wired).

Obviously the tech industry will need to attract and retain a significant portion of these women to fill the anticipated surplus of tech positions with skilled and educated professionals. For women and minorities, few things make an industry more attractive than the potential to rise to the top. The more we see women excel in the tech sphere, the more we attract talented women who can help our field excel by filling important roles at the companies we look to for exploration and innovation.

The Pipeline Isn’t the Problem

Discussing why we need women in tech is the first step. The next critical step is to do something about it! According to Laura Sherbin, Director of Research at the Center for Talent Innovation, “the pipeline may not improve much unless women can look ahead and see it’s a valuable investment.”

In other words, the tech sphere needs to become a place where women can thrive and see ongoing growth, not simply find work that pays the bills. We have women entering the field, we just don’t have a great system for retaining them. So how do we make this happen? We encourage company cultures that cultivate growth and progression for all employees. We encourage female techies to keep moving and send positive messages of praise to one another when they’ve done a job well. Whether you’ve reached a leadership role, or are working at an entry level in the field, you can spark the change necessary to help keep your female coworkers around!

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 4 Reasons to Get Involved in the Movement for More Women in Tech

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