Female Inclusivity in the Tech World
With talks of female representation becoming increasingly popular in public arenas, you may have noticed a lot of pushback. This rarely comes in the (public) form of “that’s a man’s job!” nowadays, but more likely disguises its prejudice with sayings like “there aren’t any women who can do the job,” or “women just aren’t interested in this line of work.” We know that neither of those statements are valid, however. In fact, there’s a pretty high number of women elsewhere in the world involved in tech.
So this begs the question — how do we get to a point where the tech industry is more inclusive? Here are some ways this may be possible.
Close the Tech Skills Gap
Technology isn’t an option now, it’s a necessity. And if you’re not aware, the technology skills gap is growing — i.e. we are not teaching or embracing new technology as it becomes vital to our operations. One way to create an inclusive environment is to simply give young women the tools to operate efficiently in the world that they wish to inhabit.
This can start in schools. Teaching children — male and female — how to use, fix, and troubleshoot technology is a must. Updating curriculums on a semi-regular basis to meet such changes can also implore children to decide for themselves whether the tech world is what they want to be a part of someday. Once young girls have been given the proper tools to pursue a career in technology, there can be no argument that states they simply “cannot do the job.” Of course, this doesn’t mean you only focus on the technical side of the classroom — there has to be a good balance.
You can also take this to the workplace, offering training for those who want to learn new skills within the tech sector. Internal classes or time spent to teach identifying tech problems, data management, and troubleshooting to employees, for instance, could open up more opportunities for a lot of women in your workplace.
Make Technology Accessible
Of course, for technology to be learned, it must be accessible. In the workplace, training isn’t enough without the proper tools and equipment. The aforementioned troubleshooting classes will be benefited with teaching software to learn on, programs to practice tech skills with, and the like. Newly learned skills and accessible training only go as far as an employee is able to do them.
However if we focus on inclusivity early on in young women’s lives, we again must go to the classroom. In the digital age it’s pretty vital that students have access to the internet and computers to use in some form during their educational experience. While many schools are offering this to children, parents at home may want to employ free software that teaches typing skills. Making sure their young girls are able to use the computer and the internet responsibly is a start in the right direction. Again, technology is a must in today’s culture. So the first step to inclusivity is making sure women have the same opportunities that men do.
Encouragement is key to inclusivity in the workplace and the tech field. It’s vital to both encourage employers to keep their minds open to tech-savvy females and encourage females to go into these fields if they seem to take a liking to it. Again, the gender differences people like to talk about aren’t biological, they’re cultural. And so we must start by changing the culture.
It’s important as well to make sure women are present in all decision-making. Ways to encourage more diversity in your workplace include:
- Including females on conference panels.
- Assuring that everyone’s ideas are heard.
- Utilizing everyone’s unique skills.
- Encouraging women to speak up when they have objections, questions, and solutions to workplace problems.
One last thing: there are particular organizations that work for more inclusivity in the tech world that may be worth partnering with. Huffington Post recently posted an article about five of these groups that are killing it right now and doing important work in this field. If you’re a male business owner, then this may be useful to you in creating a truly inclusive work environment. Remember, there’s a difference between inclusivity and token diversity. Choose the former.
How do you propose we encourage and help women be more represented in the American tech sector? Let us know in the comments below!
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.