Women in Tech: Closing the Gender GapShamima Begum | July 4th 2017
It’s a well known fact that there is a shortage of women in the digital marketing and technology industries, and that women are a minority when it comes to senior roles in tech companies operating in the UK. Tackling the issue has been a long and rocky road as there is a great deal of debate over how to solve these imbalances. One obvious thing we can do is look at making the industry more inviting for girls at the stage where they are choosing their career prospects, and also at getting women back into work after starting families.
What’s being done around the world?
The more that people engage with the situation, the more progress can be made. We know how change can happen painfully slowly with all progressive moves, such as enabling women to vote and giving maternity rights. This is partly down to attitudes and acceptance of the status quo.
Sometimes it can be the oddest events, such as the grown man who served as a ‘flower girl’, that catch your attention and make you realise that “normal” isn’t normal at all – we need attitudinal change to make things happen.
Dame Stephanie Shirley’s story is truly inspiring. She set up her software company to recruit only women in an age where nobody would buy software from women. However, she made it work and 70 of her staff became millionaires. Here are just a few thought-provoking quotes from Stephanie that we can all absorb and learn from:
You can always tell ambitious women by the shape of our heads: They’re flat on top for being patted patronizingly. And we have larger feet to stand away from the kitchen sink.
If success were easy, we’d all be millionaires.
We live our lives forward. So what has all that taught me? I learned that tomorrow’s never going to be like today, and certainly nothing like yesterday. And that made me able to cope with change, indeed, eventually to welcome change, though I’m told I’m still very difficult.
There is now an abundance of women’s networks to encourage empowerment in business as well as being mothers. The next Stephanie Shirley might well come from one of them.
What we’re doing at PushON to empower women
PushON is embracing everyday feminism and celebrating powerful women in the tech industry. We’re on a mission to show girls and women that the tech industry isn’t as daunting as it may look from the outside, and that it really does need more female voices. That’s the overarching purpose of our women’s team, who have come together to promote the cause. Despite being entirely voluntary, we’ve got 100% take-up so far – we’re fired up and ready to take our message out there.
Looking at our own team, the imbalance is sharp. In our development team of 12, only one is a woman. Marketing fares better, with four out of 12. And none of our four directors or three account managers is a woman (although we’ve had several female AMs in the past few years). However, if we look at the applications we get for production positions, the ratios are in fact over-representative of our industries. We can’t do anything about this today, but we certainly can help to encourage the next generation to embark on digital careers.
So far, the team has come up with ideas such as organising internal meetings with women in higher roles in the industry and inviting them to tell their stories. We want to make some changes to bring some more community spirit into the office, which was in danger of developing a gender split during social events and lunch breaks; board games are a great way to bond, so we’ve got a pile of them in. We’re also enrolling onto more training courses to help with leadership and project management.
But we’re only getting started!
Watch this space
It’s been a great journey for women’s movement all around the world. Let’s keep the game strong, to further encourage the young girls of today and the future to step up and be bold. We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what we believe in.
If you know of any women in marketing/ tech conferences coming up, be sure to drop us a message, we’d love to get involved. We hope that in the future we’d be able to organise some meetups of our own too. So, watch this space.