Women in technology
Posted On : Sat Apr 03 2021
As a big-time technology enthusiast and a woman, writing this article has been an awesome source of encouragement to pursue a career in tech and also inspirational to get as many women to follow on the same path.
From barely being discussed to becoming one of the most exposed and talked about topics in the current tech industry is the title of this blog post. Women in technology have gained the spotlight from a lot of people and many tech communities have come up all around the world focusing on bringing more women in the technology industry. But why?!
To understand why thousands of women and men are working towards bringing more women in tech, first, let's talk numbers!
Statistics show that 34% of India’s workforce is female. When compared to that of the US which stands at 23%, this percentage when compared seems rosier. Also, 57% of high-performing women study STEM fields in college. Here is the catch: 50% of these high-performing women drop their jobs at junior to mid-level of their career. This sharp drop-off is unique across Asia. After quitting they settle for jobs in marketing, consulting, and product management. Among the remaining percentage of women in core tech, only 1% of women reach high-level positions in their companies. Just 1%!! ONE!!
Diversity at work place has contributed to the success of the companies. Here is an interesting research( https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters) that speaks about how having a balanced gender diversity at companies effects gaining financial returns above their national industry medians.
Here is my take on the problems women face in tech :
Exposure/ Self doubt : How many women reading this have spent hours during childhood at cyber cafe’s playing games or working on a computer? It's likely you aren’t nodding your head now. Growing up we have not interacted with tech as much as men have. How many of you chose a career in tech willingly? A few of you say yes, some had no other choice, others were forced to do this by parents. Willingly working on something that interests and challenges you keeps you going and improves you a lot. Let's do a small exercise. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I ask you to imagine an engineer? Here are the top answers: A man on a desk with a laptop, a building builder…etc. But how many of you saw yourself? Not many!!
Work-life balance: In this expanding and fast-growing environment of tech, finding the perfect work-life balance is difficult for women. Factors like marriage, pregnancy, family responsibilities make it difficult for women to find the best balance to excel and sustain in their career.
Unconscious bias: Most of the women working in tech have this as a major problem. To explain, consider this example: Mathew is a manager and is assigned to send a person off-site for 2 months. Alvin and Jenifer work under Mathew. Alvin is single and has a good reputation at work. Jenifer is married with a child and is exceptional at work. Now Mathew chooses Alvin unconsciously assuming that Jenifer would have dependencies as she is married and has a child. If he had consulted/asked Jenifer he would have had a chance to do a better decision. This situation happens most of the time. Assuming unconsciously that a female employee cannot work overtime/handle pressure etc, their capability is overseen.
How can we get more women in technology?
Awareness and self motivation. You know you want a career in technology, to each high-level and build amazing solutions. Motivate yourselves and the women around you. Educate them about the importance of women in tech. Work hard and make compromises.
One thing that has helped me is tech communities. Find a tech community around you and become a member. Events, workshops, meetups are a great boost. You learn interesting new technologies, make connections with fellow technology enthusiasts. I am a co-organizer of the local tech community: Google developers group Hubli and Women Techmakers Hubli, and I can vouch that participating in communities will change you as a person.
Women are interested in fast-paced work life, they love to solve interesting problems and look for opportunities to grow. They feel their company does not invest much to provide them with these needs. But many companies have identified this problem and are amending rules and providing additional facilities for women to help improve sustainability and career growth. Workshops, training, certifications, medical policies, counseling are a few examples. This makes women feel important and safe. At Sony, where I work, we have a community for women called WiT[Women in Tech] that focuses on arranging workshops, meetups, fun activities to encourage women to come forward and express themselves.
This article is not focused only on women. Here is a personal story I would like to share. I am a developer. Bringing beautiful UI/UX alive is what I do best. Like most people, I joined engineering as I didn't know what else I wanted to do. Later I met two amazing people who changed everything. One among them was a man. He taught me everything I know in frontend development. Made me discover new options, got me interested in developing products and that is what I am passionate about now!! The other person was a woman, a fellow techie. She made me express myself better, got me interested in writing blog posts and we learn and explore so many things together!!
Helping others and growing together is the best way of learning. Men can be more caring, helpful to fellow female colleagues and other tech enthusiasts in their circle. Motivate and encourage them to better themselves. Teach and impart knowledge considering us as equals. Women can do the same. Tag along with a friend when going for conferences. Discuss advancements in technology often. Keep yourself in the known.
Here is a start!! My name is Supriya Shashivasan and I would love to get together and discuss technology with you any day!! Here is my twitter handle : *Follow me on Twitter. *
International Women's Day is nearing !! There are a number of communities hosting amazing tech events to empower, inspire and encourage women to pursue a career in tech! Be a part of these events and celebrate Women in tech! Check out this amazing IWD 2021 event by Women Techmakers India celebrating #CourageToCreate
There!! I had been wanting to write on this topic for so long. Finally managed to do so!! I hope this was an interesting read!