It’s no secret that the tech industry is predominantly male dominated, and has been for a long time. As we enter a new decade in 2020, the movement to increase not only the female population in the tech sector, but also people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, is growing.
Currently, women account for only 25% of Canada’s tech sector, and the participation of women within this sector has remained fairly stagnant throughout this past decade. What’s holding women back? 50% of women in Canada think that tech companies don’t want to hire them. A new decade provides an opportunity for tech companies to step up their game when it comes to inclusion and diversity.
Six Laivly team members recently had the opportunity to attend the Move The Dial global summit in Toronto, Ontario, focused on bringing more diversity into the tech sector. They enjoyed an inspiring day of stories and experiences from women and men on the topic of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
A few key takeaways from their experience include:
Mentorship is Important
Females are always looking for female role models, which can be extremely hard to come by in a tech company. However, there’s a very simple solution to this problem: seek out a male role model. It seems that the status quo is to find a mentor of the same gender, but this does not have to be the case. If men are holding higher level positions in tech companies, it only makes sense that women who want to progress up the ladder into those higher level roles would benefit from a male mentor.
Inclusion = Innovation
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace definitely has its benefits when it comes to creating new technology. Teams that come from diverse backgrounds bring a lot of unique experiences and perspectives to a company, and the more diverse minds behind the technology, the better it will serve a diverse group of customers. Incorporating diverse perspectives allows for new approaches and techniques resulting in creative and innovative products/services. A lack of diversity can mean that the tech solutions created will only help a select group of individuals.
Fight For Your Seat At The Table
If you know that you deserve an opportunity, and have put in just as much effort as the next person, make sure your voice is heard and that you are being considered. Fighting for a seat at the table does not mean you need to get everything you ask for, it just means you are speaking up and asking. Whether it’s women, people of colour, or members of other underrepresented groups, there should be no discrimination based on factors that cannot be controlled.
Pay It Forward
If someone has helped you “Move The Dial” at some point in your life, repay the favor for someone else. This could be as simple as recognizing a co-worker with praise in a work meeting, helping to connect people with job opportunities, or even becoming a mentor to someone who could use some guidance. Taking a step back to think about who has helped you on your path can be a motivation to help others achieve the same.
Go “ALL IN”
It’s okay to recognize that diversity and inclusion can be hard, and that it will take a lot of time and effort to make changes. However, recognizing the importance of these changes and progressions will not only make for a better workplace culture, it will also make for higher quality, advanced tech products, delivered by more diverse minds. Go all in by making changes in your life and career path that can help improve diversity and equality in the tech world.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
As the movement towards diversity in tech continues, the idea of being a “woman in tech” brings a sense of pride. Although this is a great step, more action must be taken. From becoming a role model that gets other women involved in the tech industry, to organizing diversity events in the workplace, it’s important to ensure every team is rounded out with both men and women of diverse ethnicities and background experience. “Being more inclusive” is easy to talk about and think about, but the biggest (and most challenging) step, is taking action to improve the practices in your own company. Whether you are an introductory employee or have worked your way to the top, diversity and inclusion should be top of mind for everyday actions and decisions.