Hiring more women for roles in technology companies — especially in leadership positions — is a positive step forward for our culture and society … and a smart business decision. In this article we’ll look at why we need more women in technology, some obstacles faced by females in the tech sector, and four ways to encourage and empower female tech workers.
“There’s a very simple argument for diversity here at GoDaddy — it’s the right thing to do and it’s good for business.” ~ Scott Wagner, CEO at GoDaddy
3 reasons we need more women in technology
Here are just a few reasons why making more women key players in the tech workforce is good for business.
1. The earning power of diversity
Companies with more gender-diverse leadership almost always outperform those dominated by a single gender.
One recent study found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to generate profits above the national median. In addition, the bottom quartile of companies for gender diversity tended to perform worse than the national median.
It’s clear that having a balance of gender representation at high levels in the workplace is conducive to more success.
2. The decluttering of bias
Because the tech field lags behind in terms of gender and other types of diversity, we’re all but forced to rely on algorithms and tech products that have a prominent (if unintentional) bias.
For example, many facial-recognition programs are better at detecting white faces than black ones, and ranking algorithms are almost always biased in one way or another, based on the preferences and oversights of the people creating them. Including more women in tech can help compensate for some of these biases, and eliminate others outright.
3. Gender parity
Tech is a lucrative and high-earning field, and its domination by males reinforces nationwide disparities between genders. Because men are more represented in tech (and other high-earning fields), they make more than their female counterparts, resulting in a kind of passive wage discrimination.
They also serve as role models for the next generation; it’s much easier for young boys to get excited for a career in tech when they see an abundance of male leaders in the industry. For young girls, this is much harder to see.
Why aren’t there more women in technology?
There’s no denying that at least part of the problem of representation by women is due to misogyny and sex discrimination.
Multiple reports have called out the sexist culture surrounding Silicon Valley, and there are multiple anecdotal examples of companies that mistreat and/or discriminate against women. This is a massive problem, but unfortunately not one that can be solved quickly — or by tech entrepreneurs merely looking to make a change in their own companies.
Instead, let’s turn our focus to tech entrepreneurs and leaders who want to make a difference both within their own brands and the tech culture as a whole.
“We aren’t afraid of transparency and highlighting our areas to improve because we know doing so makes our industry stronger by learning from one another,” said GoDaddy Chief People Officer Monica Bailey. “We’re committed to making steady progress and won’t stop because the work of reducing bias and ensuring fairness for all employees is never done.”
In many cases, tech leaders who value diversity recognize the need for more women in their industry, but face a unique problem: they aren’t getting as many qualified female applicants as they’d like, which makes it difficult to fill internal positions with women.
What can a hiring manager or tech entrepreneur do in this situation?
4 ways to include more women in technology
These are just a few steps you can take to bolster female inclusion on tech teams and in leadership positions:
- Open the door to less trained candidates.
- Work with college STEM programs.
- Facilitate female mentorship and leadership.
- Start encouraging the next generation.
To include more women in technology, follow these steps to make sure your business is set up for success — and that women get a fair chance.
1. Open the door to less trained candidates
Relying on social media for your recruiting needs can help you open the door to promising female candidates who may not have the traditional experience you’re used to looking for.
In tech, talent and passion are often more important than experience or skill sets.
Consider opening the door and hiring some women at the ground level, giving them a platform where they can hone their skills and become an integrated part of your culture.
2. Work with college STEM programs
It’s important to target women as early in their educations and careers as possible, to stoke their interest in science and technology.
Consider reaching out to local colleges and universities. Get involved in their STEM programs, and offer internship and employment opportunities to their graduates (and soon-to-be graduates).
You can also develop a culture within the STEM department that encourages more female participation.
3. Facilitate female mentorship and leadership
Work with the women who are already in leadership or management roles within your company, and encourage them to take on mentorship roles.
Publicize their position as much as possible by featuring them in press releases, giving them public speaking opportunities, and encouraging them to work with up-and-comers in the field.
This will not only give the women in your company more visibility and more power but will also drive more interest and attention in your company from potential female applicants in the future.
4. Start encouraging the next generation
There’s only so much you can do to change the minds and interests of adult women already on a career path. But you have tremendous power to influence the confidence, interest and motivation of the next generation of women.
Consider devoting some of your resources to help young girls and women learn how to code, or engineer new solutions — you may not reap the rewards for a while, but every bit of participation counts.
Related: Learn to code with these resources
The future of women in technology
We can’t force the tech field to have an even distribution of men and women overnight, nor can we force changes in businesses outside our own. Instead, let’s start making the changes we can control, in our own businesses, to include more women in tech and set the stage for a future generation where genders are more equally represented.