Disclaimer: I recognize the barriers that many women face within the tech industry as well as many others. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I have written this piece from the point of view of empowerment.
Looking back to my teenage years in the mid-2000s, I realize how gender specific certain elements of my education were; Math, Science and English were the main subjects being taught, along with classes in cooking and sewing. While we had IT classes, we were only shown the basics of typing, and how to use Office Suite. With the exception of surfing the web and messaging friends on MSN, technology did not play a major role in my life.
Through the rest of my secondary schooling and even the majority of my University years, technology remained relatively mysterious to me. I struggled to understand the ins and outs of the tech world, and was never encouraged to learn.
Fast forward to the present day. I would never have imagined that my first job out of university would be within the mobile industry. Though it was, and still can be, quite intimidating, it is also new, exciting, and rewarding. Although I don’t hold a technical role, I’ve learned a tremendous amount in my short time within the industry. That being said, over this time I’ve also recognised the struggle women face in the tech industry.
As TribalScale is a new startup, building a core team is important, but like the majority of tech companies, it too faces diversity issues, particularly when it comes to finding female developers. This is a trend many are recognizing across industries as large organizations have begun releasing diversity reports, highlighting the issue.
Having recently attended a screening of the documentary Code: Debugging The Gender Gap, I was further exposed to the issues of diversity that plague our industry. As we move forward, inclusion and equality at all levels of organizational involvement are essential to the healthy development of this industry and many others. Here are some points that I have taken from my learnings and experiences:
1. Everyone has the right to work in the industry that they love
Don’t let gender biases stop you. So many women are held back from “leaning in.” I took on the challenge of being a woman in tech, and although I am a minority, I am growing both professionally and personally. Although we struggle within a male dominated industry, we must continue to push ourselves to succeed.
2. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and “sit at the table”
For the better part of my life I have struggled with public speaking. This issue has become especially apparent in a male dominated industry, but I push myself daily to speak out more and more. Care less of what people think and care more about making yourself a part of the conversation because you deserve to be.
3. It’s about equality
The only way to beat inequality is to treat one another equally. Take the first step towards equality; be kind and respectful to everyone.
Happy International Women’s Day!