How Can the IT Industry Encourage More Women Into Technology?
This is a very important question and was number six in our recent Women in Technology survey.
I decided to try and get some different opinions on this question and so have collated some thoughts and comments below.
Pay women the same as men
73% of respondents chose this answer
This is a topic which comes up time and time again in many different industries, not just technology. Nearly 74% of our respondents cited this as the main way companies can encourage more women into technology.
Sally Bogg from Leeds Beckett University is not only an ambassador for women in technology, she is the winner of the Information Age Women in Tech Business Role Model of the Year award, so who better to give us her thoughts on the gender pay gap?
"As someone who is passionate about supporting the empowerment of women in the workplace, I realise that we will never have true equality until the responsibility of childcare is shared by both parents. Many women have little choice but to take part time roles when their children are young, resulting in women being paid less than men. Giving both parents the opportunity to undertake flexible working can play a critical role in addressing the issue of the gender pay gap."
Listen to, engage with, and encourage women
69% of respondents chose this answer
For me, this is one of the joys of working in the technology sector–the opportunity I have to listen to, engage, and encourage women. But the fact that this rates so highly in our survey must only mean the organisations themselves are not doing enough of this.
I chatted to Dr Chenxi Wang, Founder and General Partner of Rain Capital, and this is what she had to say:
"One thing we can all do in our daily jobs as business leaders is to proactively listen to, engage with, and encourage women in tech. It’s surprising to me that nearly 70% of the survey respondents felt that companies do not do this enough. Sometimes the most basic things will make the biggest difference."
Here are some more thoughts from Sue Urses, VP of human resources at Ivanti:
"Attracting and retaining women, at all stages of their careers, is a complex equation and problem to solve. I believe one solution is to create work environments that enable women to have a career without sacrificing their family (and a little time for themselves) – guilt free and without negative consequences. An environment where work/life balance isn’t a sign of weakness."
Encourage young women at schools/universities
61% of respondents chose this answer
We all know that STEM is a very important area and, as an organisation, Ivanti supports STEM. In fact, all staff are given two days off a year (paid) to support their local STEM education initiatives.
Melanie Karunaratne is one of Ivanti’s many STEM ambassadors. I asked her more about supporting STEM:
"As a STEM ambassador, I provide real-world connections to develop awareness of the different ways STEM can be applied in a career, whether directly or indirectly. We help young people understand why STEM subjects are important, and how widely they can be applied in the world of work. In some cases, it helps to change mindsets about the world of work.
You can inspire young people by bringing STEM to life and broaden their horizons with an understanding and appreciation from an early age. You can help them question, experiment and investigate to solve problems that a STEM based business may face.”
Encourage more diverse leadership
58% of respondents chose this answer
Diverse leadership was rated highly by our respondents, and personally, I feel it is really important. I have been very lucky to work for super-smart, strong women over the years. Having them lead me and become a role model for me has definitely helped me push myself in my career.
I chatted to Emma Ashley, Senior Manager of Engineering at Ivanti, about the subject of encouraging diverse leadership:
"Here in our Daresbury, UK office, we have female leaders in both our engineering and customer support functions. Across the leadership team, we readily recognise the value that diversity in teams at all levels brings, and are passionate about improving it. We’re keen to encouraging more women into our organisation. Supporting all of our staff with an environment in which they can flourish is key."
A group of us recently attended a huge women in technology conference in London, which both inspired us and helped us identify ways of making Ivanti an attractive place for women to work and thrive.
Ivanti promotes a learning culture and we are continually sharing our learnings with the rest of the organisation, for instance the engineering groups across Ivanti have begun reviewing the language in their job adverts; we should be conscious about who is on our interview panels, and who represents us at recruitment fairs.
Another great example of recent progress is encouraging women from all of our geographies to get involved – we’ve set up internal networking to share thoughts, ideas and get involvement.
We continue to learn from each other and from others in our industry, by supporting each other and persistently identifying and removing barriers to diversity.
What I find really exciting is that we’re having this conversation as an industry and throughout Ivanti.”
You all know that I am an Ivanti fangirl, so please forgive me for this plug, but I can totally recommend Ivanti if you are looking for a new career and want to work for a company that listens to, engages with and encourages women. Not only do we have these fab blogs and a Twitter account, but we have Slack groups, a brand new page on Ivanti.com, and a team of fantastic women to work with. Check out our opportunities here. Ok, plug over!