Female representation in tech leadership roles is gradually increasing. As a result, today, we have excellent expert women in the technology space. From solution architects, software developers, founders, and product managers, there’s no dearth of female talent in the industry. But out of these women achievers, just 10% to 20% get enough visibility or are quoted by major news publications and channels.
Despite gender representation improving at every level in the technology sector, gender stereotypes still exist, and women continue to lack visibility and representation.
The reasons are often deep rooted, which need to be addressed if visibility and representation of women in the tech sector have to be improved. For example, women often feel discouraged from promoting their expertise or talking about their achievements in public.
Why is visibility important for women?
You need to be seen and noticed if you want to get ahead in today’s times. Today’s world values leaders who stand at the front and take credit. If women professionals don’t get adequate visibility, they may not be able to demonstrate their skills and expertise, build strategic relationships, and land prominent assignments. Lack of visibility also limits women’s professional advancement. Some other reasons why visibility is crucial for women in the technology sector.
- More visibility will prevent them from leaving organizations and help their organizations retain a qualified workforce.
- More visibility would mean more lucrative career choices for women.
- We’ll see improvement in career satisfaction and dynamics for women in tech.
- With a diverse talent pool, companies will be able to design better products and services.
Why do women tech professionals and leaders often choose “intentional invisibility”?
We may have advanced as a society, but when women try to make themselves heard, they receive a lot of flak from the community for violating expectations about how women should behave. This discourages them from promoting their skills and expertise in public.
What Is The Data Telling Us?
Women make up barely over 1/3 of the workforce in big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. (Source: Statista).
- Females make up just 22% of the “C-Suite” level positions. (Source: Leanin.org Study)
- Women constitute just 24% of CPA firm partnerships. (Source: AICPA Research)
- Women hold less than 30% of senior-level, executive, and management positions in S&P 500 companies. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Several issues have given birth to gender disproportion in the technology space. This disparity often fuels stereotypes such as women’s role in technology as auxiliary rather than leadership-focused. These stereotypes result in the following consequences.
- 66% of women in the technology field see a dark path forward in their careers at tech organizations.
- 39% of women feel that they are not offered a promotion in their organizations because of their gender.
How positive role models can change that?
The role of positive role models to powerfully portray modern women in tech as global innovators, leaders, and achievers is crucial. When female tech workers see positive women role models in leadership, it will be easier for them to believe that they too can progress to these levels.
Women like YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM, SpaceX president, and COO Gwynne Shotwell, and others can inspire more women to take advantage of career opportunities in the tech space and gain more visibility.
Top Ways to increase women visibility in tech
What women professionals can do
Female professionals can take several steps to gain more visibility and spotlight their achievements.
- Earn professional certifications: By enhancing their skill-sets and obtaining technical certifications, women can improve their visibility in tech organizations. They can put the information in their LinkedIn profile, email signature, and their business card to make their area of expertise known. With solid proof of knowledge in a specific tech area, women tech professionals can earn a reputation as an expert within a particular domain and be more visible.
- Polish their communication skills: If women want to be seen and heard as thought leaders, they must learn to communicate effectively. Speaking at knowledge-sharing events and offering educational webinars, podcasts and videos can help them demonstrate their deep knowledge and tech expertise.
- Meet more professionals in the field: By meeting industry leaders and experts and exchanging ideas and experiences with them will immensely boost women’s visibility in tech. Women tech professionals can also network with tech influencers on social media and peers to collaborate and produce content together. This way, women can expose their expertise to the public.
- Make your PR teamwork: Women working in senior positions must ask their marketing and PR teams to put themselves forward and make their talents, skills, and achievements known. Once they get some opportunities, they should be as communicative as possible.
- Take initiatives: Within their organization, women tech professionals should find out who needs support for projects and offer to help. Many people with less time in hand would love the help. Also, they should consider scheduling meetings whenever they can and ask for opinions and advice from their peers.
What can organizations do to provide more visibility to women?
- Organizations should encourage more women to participate and attend events.
- At events, they can ask male delegates to invite their female colleagues.
- If women are unable to speak up during meetings, they can be perceived as incapable leaders. So, make sure no employees unnecessarily interrupt women speakers as they speak. Establish protocols for that and issue clear guidelines.
- Lastly, check your own limiting beliefs and biases and know the value of your female leaders. When female leaders are there, it brings more unique ideas and perspectives to organizations and boardrooms.
To overcome outdated stereotypes and promote equality, we need to make more women leaders visible. This will encourage more women to enter the tech space, diversify the talent pool, encourage more tech workforce participation, and boost tech companies’ ROI.