Fact: Women in technology are a minority, holding only 25 percent of computing jobs.
Fact: the quit rate for women in technology is more than twice as high as it is for men.
Fact: for the same job and at the same company, women will receive lower salary offers than men 63 percent of the time.
For those who work in the technology industry, these facts don’t come as a surprise. We all know that there are serious issues with both overall female representation and the way women are treated by some of their male colleagues (often by the business too).
While some days it might seem like we aren’t making progress, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought we could take a moment to express gratitude for things that are going in the right direction. It may be my implicit positivity, or perhaps the holiday spirit in the air but I can list a few things that personally I’m grateful for. While our industry has a lot of faults and -using “corporate jargon” in search of a better term- areas that require improvement, it’s had its positive moments as well.
Strong female role models. We don’t have many female leaders in technology, but the ones we have are fantastic role models. They are hard-working and highly achieving visionaries who manage teams, departments and collaboration groups with real passion. They are true leaders. This is not an industry that provides plenty of opportunities for personal development and evolvement to women; therefore, the ones that make it to the top are nothing less than both unique and talented.
Catalytic changes I’ve witnessed in the past years. I’ve been in this industry long enough to remember when things were definitely worse. When conscious bias, sexism, discrimination, and even harassment were common and generally “accepted”. When companies didn’t have a specific policy or code of conduct, and absolutely no inclination nor any plan to address these issues. Today though, most technology vendors have a clear strategy towards inclusion and diversity which, in many cases, actively involves employees in the design and implementation of their responsibility programs. They are open about it, they regularly collect feedback, they organize awareness days and training courses, and they demand respect in the workspace. Things are changing for the better and, although we still have a long way to go, I can’t help noticing some crucial improvements.
Increasing number of “manbassadors”. We‘ve seen many women evangelizing the need for more inclusion; lately, a good number of men has raised their voice and provided their support to this ongoing fight for gender equity. These male advocates made a whole lot of difference actually – because, for the first time, the matter was not concerning a small group of people (women are still a minority in technology, and those who speak out about diversity are even fewer), but a wider and gender-diverse circle of professionals who asked for things to change.
Organizations that empower women. Over the years we’ve seen the rise of organizations focused on empowering women who work in the tech industry. Places like Girls Who Code and Women of Email were created to help give women “a seat at the table” at companies and on teams that are typically male-dominated. In the spirit of “thanks,” we encourage you to consider making a donation to one of these amazing organizations! Check out their donation pages below:
These positive changes prove that things can change. For me, it’s all the motivation I need to keep going.