Women’s Equality Day: A Day of Reflection for Women in Tech

Commemorating the Nineteenth Amendment being adopted into the US constitution, instigating women’s right to vote, Women’s Equality Day has become a marker for how far gender equality has come over the last century. However, particularly in the tech sector, it also provides a day of reflection on what is still left to achieve.

As declared by Lucy Zhang, Senior Graphic Designer at Plutora, the day “should serve as a reminder for everyone to make a conscious effort to fight for equal treatment for women everywhere. The vote is secured but equal rights and opportunities are not. We need to be aware of the subtle and cultural obstacles like unconscious bias and lack of diversity. It’s no secret that the number of women in tech is lower than it should be, and we need to find ways to change that by integrating the voices of everyone in our industry equally.”

We still have a long way to go…

Despite all of the progress over the last 100 years, there is still so far to go.

Rhys Sharp, Solution Director at Portfolio, Six Degrees, agrees: “I can see the tech workplace has become a more diverse place, but we still have a way to go. The big tech companies need to lead the way, as they have strong and loyal partner communities that will follow their lead.”

“In recent years, the tech industry has made substantial progress toward creating more inclusive, equitable and diverse environments,” adds Gianna Driver, CHRO at Exabeam.

“Representation of women has improved, but work remains to address persistent gaps within the talent pipeline: promotion rates are not equitable and women continue to lose representation at all levels of the career ladder.”

This imbalance in promotions and the lack of female representation in positions of leadership is a clear indication of an institutionalised inequality within the industry.

“The continued state of disparities, highlights a ‘broken rung’ within the corporate ladder,” Svenja de Vos, CTO at Leaseweb Global, warns. “If companies continue to fail in seizing the opportunity to recognise and properly support women in their organisation, they risk an unconscious gender bias within their company culture leaving women with an unclear path forward.”

Breaking down barriers and creating opportunities

Women’s Equality Day offers a space for open communication about the obstacles women face within tech organisations, allowing them to express their frustrations and begin to challenge these industry biases.

“It can give employers the time to reflect and ask female employees what they would like to see changed,” states Anais Urlichs, Developer Advocate at Aqua security. “The majority of women in the tech industry are still not in influential positions – and therefore rarely have a voice to influence change. It’s important that organisations seek to support women and build an environment that encourages them to give feedback.”

Exabeam actively advocates for the expression of female and minority voices within the workspace, Driver explains. “At Exabeam, we are consciously leaning into and listening to the voices of trans and cis women as well as our non-binary community. We value diverse perspectives and know this translates into business results, but more, it translates into a more fun, authentic and human work experience.”

By breaking down these barriers to communication, technology companies can create greater opportunities for women. This is not only vital for those already working in tech but also for those considering a career in the industry.

Aqua’s Urlichs continues, “I believe that everyone should take the time to talk to women about the range of opportunities in technology and other male-dominated industries. Women are often overlooked, so I hope this Women’s Equality Day we take a minute to discuss STEM pathways with women from all backgrounds.”

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Caroline Seymour, VP of Product Marketing at Zerto, emphasises the importance of encouraging women to apply for roles in tech:

“To make change happen we need to implement progressive strategies that result in women being hired into tech roles. I encourage women to build strong networks of men and women. We can all help each other and learn from each other. We must also actively mentor young girls and encourage them to pursue STEM studies in higher education. Solving gender disparity in the workplace is not a one-sided solution. Diversity of thought is invaluable to any company and should be something we all work hard to achieve.”

She adds, “To fix the gender gap issue we need realistic initiatives that can be easily implemented today, such as: creating gender-neutral job descriptions, ensuring women are part of the interviewing team, ensuring that interview rounds include diverse candidates, conducting regular pay equity reviews to attract and retain candidates, offering mentorship and advancement programs, and regularly evaluating hiring and promotion processes to eliminate bias.”

Women as leaders and mentors

Beyond the recruitment process, it is also crucial for companies to ensure that women have access to leadership roles. Currently, women comprise less than one-third (28%) of tech leadership positions.

Striving to tackle such inequalities in the workplace, Progress offers “a number of initiatives designed to encourage and empower women”, according to Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Dr Shirley Knowles. “We have a company-wide Employee Resource Group (ERG) – ‘Progress for Her’ which provides women with the tools they need to build their networks and professionally develop.”

She adds: “Our aim is to continue to encourage women to choose STEM, and to support their professional development once they are there.”

Meaningful connections within the workplace can also aid women’s progression to leadership roles.

Plutora’s Zhang stresses the importance of significant relationships and mentorship for women in tech: “In my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles that many women face in the workplace is making meaningful connections, especially in the tech industry because there are not enough of us. Working with someone you can identify with is something that women unfortunately rarely get to experience in a space dominated by men.”

“Mentorship can be a great asset for women’s careers if we foster those connections,” she adds.

Equality equals success

It is important to remember that equality within the workplace benefits everyone, not just women. In order to achieve success, tech companies must adopt strategies to support and include all employees – or risk missing out on contributions from underrepresented communities.

Dean Chabrier, Chief People Officer at Egnyte , agrees with this sentiment, highlighting:“This Women’s Equality Day, we are focused on the knowledge that fostering a culture of inclusion and this respect for all employees must be an everyday part of our business practices if we want to achieve success.”

Zhang concludes: “Women’s Equality Day is about uplifting each other and making sure all women have the tools and opportunities to succeed. It’s not a zero-sum game, we’re all in this together to make space for diversity. When we do, we all win.”

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