“Brilliance and intelligence have no gender,” Jyoti Mukherjee, CEO and Founder, Software Technologies Limited
Information Technology is a hot sector, and it’s exciting to see more women getting involved. But let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. We still have a long way to go before we reach gender equality at the core of the industry, and the recent boom of “women in tech” might be misleading. Just as having a website doesn’t necessarily make your new company a “tech startup,” having a blog doesn’t necessarily make you a “woman in tech.”
Literature examining the impact of women in the workplace (specifically women collaborating on teams and in leadership roles) demonstrates the need for and impact of having more women in technology. Greater gender diversity in technology can impact businesses’ bottom lines, as research from Morgan Stanley indicated.
Calls for more female participation in the economy have grown louder, often based on political or cultural arguments founded on fairness. Yet, a persuasive argument for diversity and equality can also be anchored to the bottom line, where ensuring that more women are working and leading in the workplace is simply good business, especially for investors who not only care about the ethics, but also want returns.
But the fundamental building blocks of tech—the magic, if you will—come from the engineers who write code. They are the conductors in this symphony of 1s and 0s. Amber Reyngoudt, software engineer at Milk Inc., likened computer scientists to painters or sculptors: “We actually create something with our own hands and then say, ‘I made this.’
So why is it so important to have more female coders in the tech world? Reyngoudt’s respect for the power to create highlights one of the most compelling reasons: Inspiring a new generation of women to learn computer science empowers female entrepreneurs to come up with unique solutions to new problems. Additionally, as more and more industries step into the digital age, tech will imbue every part of our economy. Computer science is a growing field, one in which we desperately need more top talent. And one in which women can’t be left behind.
Although tech industry women like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and HP’s Meg Whitman deserve praise for their leadership, the tech world needs more coder role models like Google’s Marisa Mayer. Only then are we ever going to convince the next generation that computer science isn’t just for boys.
Implementing Gender Diversity in Technology
How can businesses attract more women in technology roles and leadership positions? That’s a challenging task, according to Gianna Scorsone, chief operations officer at staffing agency Mondo, but there are a few ways to enhance gender diversity in technology.
- Focus on unconscious biases: Hiring and management practices can involve unfairness and biases that occur unconsciously. Left unchecked, they can create defensiveness for employees about the way things are. Companies should check job postings for gendered wording, and anything else that might send the wrong message.
- Include women in the hiring process: Having women interview and hire people can remove bias in the process. Another benefit is that strong female representation can lead to female employees wanting to join that type of organization.
- Expand work-life policies: Inflexible work arrangements disproportionately impacts women, with the most common example of childcare. The technology industry is becoming more comfortable with non-traditional work arrangements, and that can provide a relatively easy way to help attract increase the number of women in technology.