Actionable insights are necessary to incite real change to drive even more meaningful progress on the road to true equality.
The past handful of years have flourished with conversations focused on helping achieve greater equality for women in the workforce. This is particularly important within the technology and telco industries, given that women still only hold about 26 percent of professional computing roles today.
Celebrating Women’s History Month is a gratifying reminder of all the progress women in tech have made and helps us remember to deliver recognition to women that are often well deserved. Today, we’re seeing efforts to recognize female tech leaders, particularly with an explosion of women in tech awards, such as those presented by the Women Tech Council, as well as women in tech events and even media columns featuring successful women in the industry across various publications.
Having conversations and giving recognition are important and serve as promising first steps in the right direction. But on their own, they will not put women on an equal playing field in the tech industry at this point; it’s still far too unbalanced. We need more actionable insights to incite real change, which is why, during Women’s History Month, it is critical to consider what we, as an industry, can still – and must – do to drive even more meaningful progress on the road to true equality.
Find Power in Numbers
Joining forces with other tech industry leaders is the best way to create meaningful, actionable discussions. Taking industry conversations a step further by establishing various focus groups and speaking forums offers platforms for both individuals and organizations to collaborate on the next steps and solutions for greater equality.
Participating in these efforts is something that I have prioritized over the past year. For example, I recently reviewed this during the Power Women Breakfast Series at the Pacific Telecommunications Council’s Annual Conference (PTC ’20), exploring strategies to grow female participation in the industry and help close the pay gap for women in tech. One of the biggest takeaways I’ve found from these panels has been realizing how important it is for us as existing members of the industry to make these conversations more actionable.
To take action, I’ve joined several dedicated organizations that seek to elevate women in the industry. For example, Women’s Tech Forum helps create more speaking opportunities and workshops for women at industry events, which in general have disproportionately represented male speakers in the past. Women in Telecoms and Technology (WiTT) educates women about various career paths and opportunities available within tech and telco.
With so many different organizations, all with a common goal, there are numerous opportunities for individuals and companies alike to get involved.
Avoid Equality Hypocrisy
While we’re putting many of these ideas into practice, we must also ensure that on our quest for gender equality, the way forward is truly reflective of equal representation. Failing to include men, for example, in these conversations means that ideas coming out of respective panels don’t reflect an authentic, inclusive approach. Including all relevant parties on this journey is critical in creating a gender-equal industry.
This shouldn’t stop at gender either – these efforts are also crucial across different ethnicities and age groups, mainly as we work to cultivate the next generation of tech industry leaders. And, who wouldn’t want to be part of the tech industry’s future? Technology is changing the way all other industries do business, from automating manufacturing processes to enabling self-driving cars. As consumers, too, it is easy to take for granted the ease with which we can shop our favorite stores or scroll through social media feeds from our mobile phones. The reality is, endless technologies are underpinning these capabilities that are ultimately advancing today’s digital economy.
Taking more diverse perspectives into consideration enables all parties to work together and make changes that promote equality while also helping to shape the future of the industry and its leaders.
We can do it!
Giving voice to these issues is essential to me, primarily because it allows me to share how much I love working in tech and telco specifically. This industry impacts so much of our every day, from our social media, feeds to our Netflix binges and more. I’m honored to be in a position to help influence the direction of the industry and am confident that these ongoing efforts will, in turn, inspire a genuinely diverse and equally represented generation of tech leaders soon.