One in four professionals in the tech industry is a woman. A Microsoft study sheds light on this statistic because it found that 73% of women want a career where they feel they are bettering their world or environment and don’t feel that is synonymous with the tech industry.
So the small minority of women who do choose to work in tech experience gender bias in their careers. But as the industry and women proactively work to reduce gender bias, the gender gap will narrow, and women will feel more empowered in the tech industry.
We’ll examine how gender bias directly affects women in tech and offer tips and strategies for overcoming gender bias to achieve your ideal career. When women see that they can rise above gender bias and use tech innovation to improve their world, more women will feel working in tech is a viable and rewarding experience.
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Gender Bias That Affects Women in the Tech Industry
Gender bias not only affects your employees, but it also hurts a business’s bottom line. A Society for Human Resource Management study discovered over a five-year span, gender bias costs US businesses 172$ in employee turnover, 59$ billion in lost productivity, and $54 billion in absenteeism. Women especially feel gender bias in these ways:
A Pew study found that women made 92 cents for every dollar made by a man for the same job from the same tech company. This is an 8% pay gap, but this gap is narrowing. It was a 26% gap forty years ago. So while strides are being made, the pay gap still exists.
Because the tech workforce is 75% men, women who work in the industry experience “bro culture.” This can make women feel uncomfortable in some situations and create an environment for sexual harassment.
Only 25% of executives are women in the tech industry. Several factors drive this statistic. Most critical is the lack of gender diversity in the pipeline because fewer women seek STEM careers.
Stereotypes and gender bias can also create a hostile work environment where women don’t feel they can advance. And the long work hours and inflexibility of executive positions make it difficult for women who are trying to balance a career with having a family.
Many women want a work-life balance that includes having a family. Many women who work in tech feel they haven’t gotten a job or were overlooked for promotion because they were pregnant.
What is Tokenism, and Why is it Relevant to Women in Tech
Tokenism is a common practice where enterprises or industries make symbolic gestures toward inclusion and gender diversity but don’t actually address the issue. In the tech industry, many companies hire women, creating the appearance of diversity without addressing the gender biases in the company’s culture that can keep women from advancing.
Filling quotas perpetuates gender bias that women can’t succeed on their own merits and creates resentment amongst coworkers. This can also make the few women who work at the tech company feel isolated and inadequate. To make women feel appreciated and welcome in your company, you need to address gender bias issues and value work-life balance.
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Related Link: Essential Skills to Land a Tech Career in 2023
Strategies and Advice for Overcoming Gender Bias from Female Tech Leaders
While gender bias does exist, there are several strategies women can implement to rise above the bias and achieve their ideal tech careers. Here are some practical strategies from prominent female tech leaders:
Hit Your Numbers
A senior VP at AppGate, Tina Gravel says the best way to overcome gender bias is to hit your numbers, whether it is sales quotas or other KPIs. No one can argue your numbers when they meet or exceed what you’ve been asked to deliver. This will also boost job satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment when you know you can do the job.
Here are a few tips for hitting your quotas and KPIs:
- Set clear, measurable, achievable goals.
- Prioritize your tasks and track your progress regularly.
- Make sure you are analyzing data to make the best decisions.
- Be an open communicator and collaborator with your team.
- Keep focused on your objectives.
Always Be Learning
Because technology is constantly evolving, your skills and education need to keep up. Barb Paluszkiewicz, CEO of CDN Technologies, encourages you should favor curiosity and focus on foundational respect. Be open-minded to other perspectives and follow the latest industry trends and insights.
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Find a Mentor
Hannah O’Donnell, director of sales at Collabrance, attributes much of her career success to having a mentor. Mentors can help you recognize and overcome weaknesses, provide a path, and offer support throughout your professional journey.
Because there are so few women in tech, those that have found success should look to mentor those that are just starting out. And if you are just starting your career in tech, look for executive women that you admire and whom you could ask to be your mentor.
Be an Advocate for Yourself
Robin Miller, a director at Channel Program, knows firsthand how gender bias can affect your career. She says the key is not to let bias hold you back and to be an advocate for yourself. The best ways to advocate for yourself is to:
- Promote your accomplishments, skills, and goals—humble brag goes a long way.
- Find a mentor for support and guidance.
- Establish boundaries.
- Negotiate for fair compensation and opportunities.
- Build a strong network with other women.
At Sabio, we believe in empowering women to achieve tech careers by arming them with the most in-demand skills and a valuable network. We strive to create an environment of inclusion and diversity. We will level up your coding skills and connect you with the right companies to kickstart your new career.
Related Link: Females are Deleting Myth that Tech is for Men