How we can work towards a positive change, to ensure 2017 truly is the year of gender diversity in the technology industry?
Following the success of the 2016 women in technology survey now known as #YouEqualTech. We feel it is crucial to reflect back on some of key areas that we can all work towards to achieve positive change.
By looking at these points of action we feel that 2017 truly will be the year of gender diversity in tech.
ACTION AS WELL AS AWARENESS
As we all know by now gender diversity awareness and programmes for change are continuingly growing, it is important that this conversation continues. However, awareness is one thing, it’s the actions that will make a real difference and bring about even greater change. There are a myriad of ways that we as individuals or a business can take part. There are 3 very easy steps that we can all take to ensure we act on awareness.
KEEP SETTING THOSE GENDER TARGETS
According to our 2016 survey Woman still only make up 11% to 15% of technology based roles. Although the awareness is still growing, the focus to promote women into technology rose by 125%, from 2015. This shows that we need to act on awareness to ensure gender diversity in tech. one of the best ways to achieve this is to set targets.
Management set targets for everything, it’s crucial to achieve continued growth, it stands to reason that technology organisation set targets on employment to ensure gender diversity in their place of work. An example of a major organisations setting diversity target is General Electrical, they recently announced a gender diversity target, with a goal to hire 20,000 women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) roles by the year 2020.
If tech firms act on these examples and set targets similar to GE based gender diversity, this will ensure that the percentage of women in tech will continue to flourish in the future.
It’s still common in many organisations to discriminate against someone; many of us still do this without even being aware. We can be put off from someone for the smallest things, from eye colour to accent. This can create a real negative environment in many workplaces resulting in a lack of diversity. If we are to ensure that 2017 truly is the year of gender diversity in tech, action must be taken to ensure unconscious bias.
In 2015 Microsoft announced that its internal unconscious bias training is publicly available for organisations around the world. The training consists of thought-provoking scenarios as well as other activities, in an effort to ensure an understanding and identifying unconscious bias.
There are a myriad of simple training activities that other organisations in the tech sector can undertake to ensure unconscious bias is put into action to ensure gender diversity continues to grow beyond 2017, and we can bring more women into the industry we all know and love.
Per our 2016 survey 43% of participants where female all though this was a 10% increase from the year previous, we feel that we can do better and so can other organisations. It is important to encourage everyone in the office participates in free thinking dialogue channels. If we don’t get the opinion of everyone it is difficult to make a change in the work environment, and without change gender diversity cannot be acted upon.
Of course there is an understanding that many employees feel intimidated to speak their mind and share their opinions with managers, this is why it is crucial that management implement and open door policy in one way or another. Or look at put into place groups of employees where staff from different levels can communicate with each other, discuss issues and work out problem.
The key thing that organisations must look into is to ensure they give their employees options, and ways they can communicate and speak their mind.