Women are still underrepresented in tech leadership, with just 22% of tech leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies being held by women.If you’re thinking about a career change or are just looking for a way to get more women into tech, we have suggestions that might be perfect for you.
“Recognize and embrace your uniqueness...Being a Black woman, being a woman in general, on a team of all men, means that you will have a unique voice. It’s important to embrace that.” - Erin Teague.
Ying Zheng has proven herself as a successful female tech leader without the privilege of being born white. AiFi Inc. specializes in AI and world-class expertise in part of leadership strategy, and Zheng is their president and cofounder. In the last five years, she has made steady progress at every corporate level while continuing to challenge the norm of women being accepted into senior-level positions.
How Are Women Still Underrepresented?
Despite these statistics, Ying believes the industry as a whole is moving in the right direction. U.S. and E.U. markets propagate female leadership, while dedicated investors allow us to improve on change already happening in our society’s tech industry.
The political agenda is changing, with a need to build a better community-building system through institutional change. The focus needs to be on diversity and examining inclusivity instead of exclusion. This decades-long issue has been brought up time and time again and the current situation is not helping anything improve. Changing this situation requires examination from doctors, psychologists, teachers, philosophers, social scientists, and mathematicians alike.
Though women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions, organizations like Girls Get Higher believe this is temporary due to current progressive hiring policies. It only took one measure for Zheng's company to see a 30% increase in female engineers and computer science majors. There are reexaminations of the unconscious bias within promotion paths and encouragement for future female participants in the space to further make significant gains for gender representation.
Start nurturing women leaders
Zheng’s story about how learning computer coding in high school led to her becoming a tech leader proves the importance of education. Program initiatives must educate young women early in life, like Zheng was, to create interest and boost numbers.
With a more focused approach, companies and change advocates can improve gender representation in tech leadership. Stereotypes must be actively tackled and the normalization and movement of female leaders cannot be accelerated enough. Michelle Zatlyn, COO and president of Cloudflare, says “People don’t take opportunities because the timing is bad, the financial side is insecure. Too many people are overanalyzing. Sometimes you just have to go for it.”
Why is it essential to increase the participation of women?
Women have historically been underrepresented in tech-leadership positions and Zheng is advocating for change. As a working mother, Zheng said balancing her professional and personal life has been challenging. She’s working to create an environment where mothers can thrive without compromising their ability to provide care at home. Employers need to be aware of these changes and offer the right support to them.
Create a supportive environment for women
“Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. It is easy to allow insecurities about age/experience level to prevent you from making a big demand, or asking for a meeting with an influential person, or even admitting that you need help.” - Olivia Pavco-Giaccia STEM advocate.
Women leaders will continue to break all these barriers and uplift their companies in the coming years. Until now, the progress achieved can’t be taken for granted, as individuals must take an active role for greater representation and ensure that women's capabilities are recognized and rewarded.
Break down the barriers
There are plenty of companies worldwide that spend time planning how they will be hiring more diverse workers and keeping them. This is how culture and work models should be planned and creating a friendly environment where people want to continue their work is more important than policies and hiring practices. It's an ongoing process where everyone brings their complete self to the workplace every day and feels valued in progressing their careers.
The most powerful thing to promote more women in tech leadership is creating a culture of “Conscious Inclusion.” This will build up the desire, insight, and capacity of women leaders to make decisions. Just lead, think and act with conscious inclusion where you consider everyone.
We can’t remain underrepresented in the past, and we need to take the firm step in building an equal and inclusive future. This will greatly support economic growth, increase workforce participation, and inspire future generations.
Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.
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