Challenging bias in the workplace
Despite increased awareness regarding the lack of gender diversity within the tech industry, it continues to remain a critical issue. It is encouraging to see companies beginning to take the lead with initiatives and programmes aimed at closing the gender gap, but more must be done to drive lasting change.
Having taken part in a recent Tecknuovo panel, Women in Tech: Challenging Bias in the Workplace, I was prompted to think about the advancement of women within my field. In my early career, tech was almost exclusively male. Now, in my leadership role at Tecknuovo – surrounded by equally senior female colleagues – I realise that while strides have been made, my personal experience might not mirror society and that women's leadership in this industry remains a rarity. My thoughts recently have been drawn back to that panel conversation I shared with female industry peers and the question “Why is greater female representation necessary for tech?”
Technology is rapidly shaping our world and despite years of progress towards workplace equality, women and minorities remain heavily underrepresented in the technology space. As large-scale transformations continue to dominate the digital world and societal demand forces companies to become increasingly more innovative, greater representation of women in technology is more vital than ever. To create truly disruptive technology in the ever-evolving digital space, businesses must go beyond the tech alone, and embrace the people that are driving the change. There is a major cost associated with a lack of gender diversity, both for individual companies and the industry as a whole.
Technology must truly reflect the demands of the society to which it belongs. The tech industry exists to meet the needs of people, and it is unlikely that diverse needs will be represented if women are absent from its core. There is no doubt that having more women in positions of leadership and hands-on IT involvement is beneficial for business. Women account for half of the purchasing demographic for most businesses and households and having a limited number of women in top positions leaves valuable insights untapped. Simply put, diversity is a competitive business advantage.
It has been seen repeatedly, organisations that embrace diversity in the workplace are more effective than those that do not. A diverse team challenges thinking and creates a dynamic environment where creativity can flourish. Gender diverse teams are more innovative. It has been consistently demonstrated across sectors that higher levels of diversity have a positive correlation with higher financial performance, and technology is no exception.
Providing active role models and removing barriers at a young age is key to inspiring the next generation of women to pursue careers in tech. There are great initiatives that highlight the success stories of women innovators - we must celebrate more of these successes if we are serious about implementing change and ensuring that companies like Tecknuovo become the majority, not the minority.