Three ways to support women in tech
According to The Chartered Institute for IT, just one in six IT specialists in the UK are female and of those, only one in ten are IT leaders.
As disappointing as these statistics may be, campaigns like #WomenInTech, the celebration of International Women’s Day and pioneering, proactive organisations focused on gender parity are signs that positive change is taking place.
This change is due, at least in part, to companies who have realised that a diverse workplace is good for business. Time and time again, research has proven that diverse teams, including those with greater gender diversity, are on average more creative, more innovative and more profitable than their homogenous counterparts.
Unfortunately, too many companies claim gender diversity and equality as a priority without adequate follow-through. To increase the representation and retention of women working in tech, companies need a comprehensive plan for supporting and advancing people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Below are three actions companies can take to increase female representation and help close the gender gap in tech:
- Make a commitment from the top down
Senior leaders and managers are crucial when it comes to driving change across an organization. It’s easy to claim a commitment to diversity, but just like any other business imperative, it needs to be backed with action.
While it may seem counterintuitive, many workplace diversity programs actually fail to produce meaningful diversity and inclusion according to Harvard Business Review. This is largely because the change is focused on meeting quotas by checking boxes, and not by changing the internal culture.
Seemingly small measures like making job descriptions more gender neutral, highlighting the fact that there are multiple paths into a successful technical career and bringing women in tech roles to recruiting events can help diversify your pool of qualified applicants.
- Empower female role models
Women who are already working in the tech sector can support and encourage those following in their footsteps by embracing opportunities to stand up as mentors and role models. Developing an internal mentoring program, formally or informally, can give women in leadership the chance to advise, guide and empower the next generation of leaders.
By making female role models more visible and accessible, women in the early stages of their career can better conceptualise objectives, set and achieve goals and visualise their career progression in an industry where women in leadership roles are not yet the norm. When it comes to representation, visibility is power.
- Offer flexible company policies
As the tech industry competes for top talent, both men and women are prioritising opportunities with companies that offer perks such as a supportive and flexible culture. This includes company policies that offer a good work-life balance and acknowledge different needs, backgrounds and phases of life. The opportunity to work non-standard business hours or telecommute are great ways to make your culture more welcoming.
By offering these “perks” your company can cast a wider net and find amazing women who may not fit neatly into yesterday’s boxes. Make room for them, invite them in and, when they arrive, make sure you give them the tools they need to transform not just your organisation, but your industry.
By Trisha Price, EVP product development and engineering, nCino
About the author
She has over 15 years of financial services and technology experience, previously leading development organisations at Primatics Financial and Eagle Investment Systems. Trisha has also led the securities accounting department at Fannie Mae and developed Net Investment Income forecasting models at John Hancock.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in software engineering from Harvard University.