Women’s Equality Day – How can tech companies close the gender gap?
It’s no secret on Women’s Equality Day that the tech industry is male-dominated and there are still huge disparities in gender representation.
Women’s Equality Day is the perfect time to draw attention to this and show how companies can be more accommodating to women in the future.
“Today, it symbolizes the pervasive obstacles that women face (and overcome!) on a daily basis, whether big or small,” says Claire Hughes, HR Business Partner at Totalmobile.
Year after year we are slowly moving closer to a more inclusive industry, but we still have a long way to go.
Gender Imbalance and Representation of Women in the Workplace
“There are many industries that could still benefit from a greater degree of gender diversity, especially those that have traditionally been considered male-dominated, such as science and technology,” says Hughes. However, to increase this diversity, employers need to consider practical measures, such as “introducing flexible working hours to help working parents, involving women in the recruitment process, supporting pay transparency and encourage female role models and better decision-making by having a diverse leadership team.
“In 2021, tech roles held by women only increased by 2%,” said Caroline Seymour, vice president of product marketing at Zerto. “To address the gender gap, we need realistic initiatives that can be easily implemented today, such as: creating gender-neutral job descriptions, ensuring women are part of of the interview team, ensuring interview rounds include diverse candidates, conducting regular pay equity reviews to attract and retain candidates, providing mentorship and advancement programs, and regularly evaluating hiring and promotion processes to eliminate bias.
“For change to happen, we need to implement progressive strategies that result in hiring women in tech roles,” Seymour said. “I encourage women to build strong networks of men and women. We can all help each other and learn from each other. We also need to actively mentor young girls and encourage them to pursue STEM studies in higher education. Addressing gender disparities in the workplace is not a one-sided solution. Diversity of thought is invaluable to any business and should be something we work hard to achieve. »
At the origin of representation in the workplace are the employers themselves. “Organizations are under pressure to adopt effective diversity, equity and inclusion policies, and rightly so,” says Svenja de Vos, CTO, Leaseweb Global. “It’s good that many organizations have managed to shift their priorities to meet these needs, but there continue to be persistent gaps overall and where it matters. According to research by Mckinsey & Company, organizations have improved the representation of women at all levels, however, there is still a significant gender imbalance as promotions to leadership positions are not fair and women of color continue to to lack representation at all levels.
Uplifting women through Women’s Equality Day
“Women’s Equality Day is a great time to draw attention to the opportunities for women in tech,” says Samantha Thorne, People Manager at Node4. “At Node4, we place great importance on helping girls and women imagine the possibilities and career paths available to them. During their career with us, we ensure that women are supported and empowered by participating in leadership programs to help them reach their full potential. We understand the need to increase the number of women in leadership positions to provide female role models for others and we continue to evolve our policies, benefits and culture to ensure their full and equal participation in the workplace.
Joy Ravenhall, director of marketing at Tax Systems, also believes that female role models are important to potential employees. “It is essential that women have role models in every industry and this is what is currently lacking in the accounting and tax sectors. Companies must make all areas of their work environment open to women – from the entry level to the boardroom. Without this clear progression to achieve, it’s easy for women to feel unmotivated in their careers. This creates male-dominated environments that many women don’t want to be a part of and the lack of role models makes reaching these heights on the career ladder seem almost impossible.
Lucy Zhang, senior graphic designer at Plutora, thinks it’s important for women to support women. “In my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles that many women face in the workplace is making meaningful connections, especially in the tech industry, because there aren’t enough of us. with someone you can relate to is something women unfortunately rarely get to experience in a male-dominated space.
“I love it when women in our industry take an active role in connecting with other women as colleagues and mentors,” adds Zhang. “I owe a lot to the mentors who helped me get to where I am today, as they challenged me to never lose sight of the fresh perspective I bring to the table. Mentoring can be a major boost to women’s careers if we foster these connections.But it can’t just be about women helping women, everyone has to contribute.
“Women’s Equality Day is about uplifting each other and ensuring all women have the tools and opportunities to succeed. It’s not a zero-sum game, we’re all in this together to make room for diversity. When we do, we all win.
What companies can do to overcome gender bias
“One of the biggest barriers to equality for women in tech is attracting talent in the first place,” says Anne Tiedemann, SVP People and Investor Relations at Glasswall. “At Glasswall, we aim to break down this barrier through early training in software development skills, exposure to the industry, and increased flexibility in work practices. There is still often a discriminatory nature in the hiring within tech – many job postings are written in a way that discourages many potential female candidates. Making our job postings more inclusive and gender-neutral is an important step forward in the marketplace. And putting in place value the contribution our women make to the company not only encourages more women to apply, but highlights role models and leaders in the industry.
Once women are in the tech industry, it’s important to maintain the talent pool. Giana Driver, CHRO, Exabeam, points out that “promotion rates are not fair and women continue to lose representation at all levels of the career ladder. Organizations must remain vigilant and intentional to create healthy, diverse and thriving cultures; it means actively investing in the growth and psychological safety of all employees. Embracing learning, normalizing mistakes, and listening go a long way to cultivating environments conducive to empathy and the celebration of diversity.
Individual companies are taking proactive steps to ensure the workplace is more inclusive. For example, Aqilla’s cloud-based accounting platform removes some of the administrative burdens on women in the industry. Hugh Scantlebury, CEO and Founder of Aqilla, explains: “By freeing up more time to focus on higher value tasks, putting women in good stead for well-deserved promotions or simply providing more flexibility to working mothers, we are very proud of our record of having a diverse and equal community. In fact, our 2022 “Big Number” analysis showed that our customer base has a nearly 50/50 gender balance. If every company took steps to make changes to their workplace, we could see a huge and much-needed change in the industry. »
The gender gap in the tech workplace is moving in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go. Rhys Sharp, Solution Director – Portfolio, Six Degrees, concludes, “Big tech companies need to lead the way because they have strong, loyal partner communities who will follow their lead.