The tech world needs more XX
Why? Because girl power rocks.
Women bring assets that are uniquely female to the tech table, assets with the muscle to enrich, expand and strengthen an industry where men outnumber women by more than three to one.
Based on diversity reports (2014) from 11 of the world’s largest tech companies, CNET reports that, on average, women comprise 30 percent of the tech workforce (and 59 percent of the US labor force). I know what you’re thinking: 30’s not so bad.
30’s not the whole story.
Drill down and the numbers plummet. More from CNET: “A closer look at the breakdown of females in (tech) leadership (22.5%) or technical (15.6%) roles shows significantly fewer women in positions to influence their companies’ product development or strategic direction.”
So, what about those assets women bring to the table?
- Women show a propensity for connection, including the ability to connect dev nerds to designer nerds to laymen.
- We have an eye for creating workspaces that help clients feel comfortable; let’s face it, most women are more tuned into their surroundings than men.
- In my experience, women are better able to translate geek-speak into language that clients can understand and even relate to.
- Females have a knack for intuiting the feelings and emotions of others in the group, which translates into unique business development ideas.
- Women are collaborators and community builders — two essential skills for pulling people together to accomplish complex tasks.
In addition to bringing more women to the tech table, we need to shift the way we treat women in tech. In my early days out of college, I was the sole female working in an innovative tech firm. A man was interested in hiring our firm. I replied to his inquiry with a professional email, to which he responded, “Oh Lexi, I think I’ve seen you in a porn!” I took the issue to my boss and suggested we not work with a client who showed that level of disrespect. My boss’s response? “Just pass the account to a male colleague if you can’t handle it.” His lack of loyalty to one of his original employees blew me away. Misogynistic attitudes, sadly sometimes still prevail. And the tech world is worse off for it, for we should all be working towards creating things that empower people, not just men.
I’ll give men this: I doubt most of them, most of the time, even realize they’ve offended a female colleague. Society teaches men and women to act in certain ways. The patterns are ingrained in both genders. We all need to step up to initiate change.
For the record, I love men. And their beards. Feminism in the tech world—in every industry—isn’t about targeting hatred. Feminism is about calling out those things that need to change. Bringing more women to the tech table is a great place to start.