Never give up! We are closing the tech gender gap
Statistics can be disheartening. At the pace we are moving, predictions show that it would take about 132 years to close the gender gap in the global workforce. In tech, the numbers are even less promising. According to recent studies, only 26.7% of computer and information science workers in the U.S. are female, compared to 46.6% of the national female workforce.
At first, I felt overwhelmed in the face of these numbers. However, as I researched the main causes of the gender gap, especially in tech, I realized our team is already taking several effective and recommended steps to reduce the gap.
I believe that keeping the debate open, acknowledging the situation, seeking solutions and improving our techniques is the only way to seriously address the gender gap in Tech. And even though we still have a long way to go, no one at SoftEdge Technologies is willing to sit back and give up!
These are 5 topics we are working on at SoftEdge to narrow the tech gender gap:
1) RAISING AWARENESS
It is the starting point for all actions. If we are not aware of the size and implications of the gap, we may be settling for little.
According to research, 63% of men are positive about gender equality in their companies, while only 47% of women share this view.
The gender gap is an ongoing subject in our team meetings and conversations. Both men and women are concerned about the low female applications to tech positions and are interested in finding solutions to reach better results.
Raising awareness regarding inequality in our company and making sure we have a friendly, inclusive work environment has been an essential factor to move forward.
2) MAKING IT HAPPEN
One of our greatest concerns was that we did not receive significant applications from women for our advertised positions. At times, there were no female applications at all. This situation put women immediately out of the hiring-process picture.
Fortunately, Alejandro, one of the founders of SoftEdge Technologies, came up with the idea to stop waiting for women to apply. Instead, he suggested that we become go-getters.
Linkedn is an outstanding source of talent. So we took advantage of the platform and started contacting the female profiles that matched the qualities we were after.
This extra effort to research and contact professional women directly worked wonders! We were able to significantly increase the number of female applicants in all areas of the company.
Using this technique, we achieved equality in our 2022 talent acquisitions. 50% of our 2022 hirings went to women, and we are excited to see more results of this clever measure. Why wait for it if we can make it happen?
3) WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
Women in tech leadership positions are beneficial to companies. Studies show that female leaders foster cooperation, create better and more diverse work environments, and usually have outstanding mentoring qualities. However, they make up only 35% of leadership positions in the U.S., and the number drops again in tech.
I believe diverse teams and leadership roles help us bring together different points of view and personal skills. Including both men and women offers better perspectives and solutions to all problems.
I have experienced first-hand the underrepresentation of women in high-ranked tech positions on many occasions. As CEO of SoftEdge Technologies, I traveled to trade shows, seminars, and tech-related events. In rooms full of tech CEOs, I found that we were always a minority.
In San Francisco, I assisted an international meeting of 30 CEOs from different Tech companies. There were 4 or 5 women tops, and I was one of them. Although I felt a bit uneasy in this boy's club, I was confident and proud of my company. I have never felt out of place or diminished at SoftEdge. The partners of the company trust, appreciate, and encourage my work. Our whole team makes me feel worthy. They act as a ubiquitous reminder that I deserve to be there.
I know more companies are working to narrow this leadership gap, and I hope that the next international meeting I attend will be filled with other female leaders!
4) BUILDING UP CAREERS
Although the education gap has been closed and even reversed in some countries, it is still a problem in fields such as STEM, economics, and politics.
At SoftEdge, we encourage members in all areas to improve their education and build-up careers, even from the ground up. The opportunity to work, study or learn new skills through mentors is critical if we are to narrow the gap and build better professionals.
I have found that even female team members who have not studied STEM-related careers and work in other areas of our business have positive impacts from working in a tech company. It is also the case for me. As the CEO of a software development company, I learned a lot about this field, and it changed my life. Concepts I thought I would never grasp have become familiar and part of my everyday life. My job inspires me to encourage future female generations to pursue careers in STEM.
Many graphic designers can easily get into programming when mentored. Allowing female designers to learn and improve their coding skills can help narrow the gender gap in the field.
At SoftEdge, building and nurturing careers is a priority. The story of Lucy, our HR manager, is living proof of this. Lucy started as our cleaning and cooking lady. However, she quickly became a reference in our company. She was the person we all came to when we wanted to know something. We got used to asking her about meetings, events, appointments, and other office-related topics. When the company hired an HR manager, people still asked Lucy for advice, news, payment dates, and policies instead of asking the new manager.
When the pandemic broke out, the cooking and cleaning position got eliminated. However, we had noticed Lucy's HR skills, and the owners offered her the HR position even though she had no formal experience in the area. It boosted her confidence, and she decided to pursue a career in HR. Nowadays, she works as HR Manager and is Alejandro’s right hand.
5) A SEAT AT THE TABLE IS NOT ENOUGH
In general terms, the wage gap statistics show that working men have higher salaries than working women. Education levels and opportunities, working experience, and the industries where women and men tend to work are accountable for these differences.
However, I found a more concerning issue related to the wage gap: women get paid less for equivalent work and responsibilities.
This last fact surprised me. Wages in our company have always been based solely on hierarchy, role, and responsibility. There’s nothing to brag about, gender pay equality is a fundamental right, and it has never crossed our minds at SoftEdge to act against it.
WHEN THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY
After learning about the gap, I concluded that we must not let statistics get us down. I have learned that small actions can lead to big changes. We must keep bringing the issue to the table and work together to find ways to close the gender gap faster.
Our team is ready to discuss the issue and take action until the gap is closed. Even if it takes us 132 years to solve the problem, we refuse to let the fire go out. We are determined to do our best and pass the torch to future generations.
Weakness is giving up, and we are definitely not ready to do that at SoftEdge Technologies.