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Solutions for the Tech Gender Gap

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There are countless articles and media coverage about the tech gender gap but few offer solutions. We hear the numbers, we shake our head over the lack of movement and yet where are the solutions?

I think we can all agree – there is a problem, and yes, some companies are attempting to turn the tide, however, when it comes to the tech gender gap the movement seems glacial.

I find myself getting discouraged over the lack of solutions being offered and then I stumbled upon an article called Wonder Women in Tech and Science by 

She also begins her article with the discouraging stats of the tech gender gap, but skip to the end; spoiler alert, she offers a solution that she calls 50% in All.

“…females represent 50.8% of the population. Women should have at least 50% of the vote and decision making power in every aspect of our life. I wrote about my suggested solution before: “50% in all,” meaning that in every company, on every management team and board of directors, in all academic environments and across all industries, there should be at least 50% women.”

She talks further about her solution in the article My 50% in All Solution.

“If we, as a society, can succeed in achieving a “50% in all” imperative for women, and making this the accepted norm, everyone–men and women alike–will benefit…In order for “50% in all” to have widespread impact and catalyze real societal change, it needs to be a bottom-up push by us all…Achieving “50% in all” will not happen in a day, but it does need to be something that we all personally hold ourselves accountable to. And it can start with equal representation for women in any leadership role.”

Forbes contributor NJ Goldston interviewed Joanne  Lipman, the former chief content officer of Gannett and Editor-in-Chief of USA Todaydebuted her almost instantaneous bestseller, That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (And What Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together. In the interview Lipman offered up several ideas to help fix the tech gender gap, one of which was a call to senior leaders in organizations across the country:

Ownership of workplace policy must come from the top of the organization from the CEO and COO. Too many companies offload this to the the HR department. Number one, you have to have your leaders set your culture. A lot of companies now have these resource groups and are now inviting the men. That seems to all be a new, effective strategy. The senior women started inviting the senior men.

However, as individuals, we also have the opportunity to make a difference by stepping up and putting our name forward for promotion. It may feel like taking a risk, but we have to overcome our fears of failure or disappointment and be visible when opportunities arise. Lipman also speaks to this when asked what women can do to put themselves forward for promotion:

With promotions and raises, women tend not to put their hands up and are consistently penalized. I tell women to think of yourself in the third person. How would  you describe yourself as if you were your best friend or your favorite colleague? This helps women get out of their own heads and see their own accomplishments. For managers, I do think managers need to be aware of who is raising their hands for promotions. The managers should go to the women in their companies and on their teams and see if they are are interested. Learn to talk about yourself without embarrassment.

That last tip is critical so I am going to repeat it: “Learn to talk about yourself without embarrassment.”

Additional Articles

Here are a few articles that I have written that may offer some insight into helping you work toward advancement and thereby becoming one of the 50% leaders in your company:

If leaders are working from the top to create a more balanced leadership team and if workers along the rung of the company seek to encourage and advance both men and women equally, we will eventually be able to achieve the solution to a tech gender gap.

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