In this piece for Digital Bulletin, Enveil CEO Ellison Anne Williams writes about increasing female representation across the tech space.
As Women’s History Month, March is traditionally a time to highlight the impact of women on society at large and to draw attention to areas where the disparity of progress between women and their male counterparts is most prominent. One such area is the technology sector where we not only see a notable shortcoming of women participants, but a particularly great discrepancy in terms of leadership roles. Accenture and Girls Who Code put out a powerful report last year highlighting many of the statistics behind this divide and Pew Research and others have also conducted important research on the topic. And beyond statistics and studies, I am one of many women in tech who can add the color of personal experience to the discussion.
But rather than focus on the problem itself, let’s focus instead on solutions. We want — and need — more women to pursue careers in technology. Diversity makes the space better, bringing new ideas to the table and helping us create working environments that are inclusive for all. Here are three ways we can continue to accelerate the progress of women in the tech sector.
Amplify the power of choice.
As simple as it may sound, the first step to increasing the number of women in tech is to ensure young women consider it as a possible career path. Only 27% of female respondents to a survey by PwC said they would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of males. We need to show that pursuing opportunities in tech is an option worth consideration. We can do this by continuing to promote STEM for young girls in school settings — there are a number of great organizations already making advances in this arena. Further, we can open doors for women through exposure to career options and making the field more appealing through flexible work environments and opportunities for advancement.
Normalize women in tech leadership positions.
We need to continue to highlight women in leadership roles in the tech industry. While research by Entelo found that only 10% of executive roles in tech are filled by women, drawing attention to the women leading the charge can help boost and normalize women leaders. Efforts associated with International Women’s Day earlier this month did a good job celebrating the success of female executives — search #IWD2021 on any number of social platforms to see a snapshot.
Establish and support opportunities for mentorship.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a number of incredible mentors over the course of my career who have given time and advice, input that was especially critical as I founded my startup. While it is fantastic to have female mentors, this is an area where men in the field can also make a substantial contribution. There is no need to shy away from offering career advice just because someone isn’t an exact reflection of yourself. Many of my mentors have been men — and I would encourage any women aspiring for a career in tech to focus on finding someone whose career you want to emulate no matter their gender.
View the full article in Digital Bulletin.