International Women’s Day Brings Awareness

on 03 | 08 | 2019

In November 2017, I wrote this blog post about how to build diverse and inclusive teams. Today, on International Woman’s Day 2019, I have paused to take inventory of where we are as a culture and especially in the tech industry. Based on recent  reports from SVB, IBM and Trust Radius, it’s clear that we still have work to do. Real change requires more than good intentions.

According to IBM, about twelve percent of organizations are “First Movers” in creating diverse workforces and leadership teams.  They’re achieving great results!

  • 81% include gender parity as part of their strategic agenda
  • 83% say implementing gender equality initiatives is easier than achieving other business goals
  • 89% identify women as having high potential as often as their male counterparts.

What about the other 88% of workforces? Many seem to be aware and interested in creating a diverse workforce, but desire needs to turn into action.

  • Women led companies get only 2% of venture funding
  • Women leave the tech industry at twice the rate of men (and not just to have kids).  A recent survey found that unequal pay, delayed promotions, sexual harassment, and even always being asked to be the “note taker” contribute to the exodus.
  • The Technology industry is actually further away from achieving gender equality at (27%-47% for the largest tech firms) than the U.S. economy as a whole which has achieved 48% women in the workforce.

There are many other statistics out there, but they all point to the fact that real change takes work, and time. Many believe that real change in the workforce begins with change in culture, family dynamics and media as well as just in the workplace.  

As a recruiter who is focused on placing the most qualified engineering and technology leaders in today’s fast-moving companies, I find that there still are fewer women in leadership roles. The  questions from my blog post in 2017 still apply.

What are you doing to prove your environment is diverse and inclusive?

  • Can you overcome your own biases?
  • What does your board look like? Is it ethnically diverse? How about your leadership team?
  • Can parents of all genders raise children and progress in their career?
  • What are you doing to create a more inclusive environment?
  • Do you have a non-discrimination policy in place?
  • What part of your hiring process has diversity in mind?
  • What does the interview panel look like? Are candidates meeting with a diverse set of individuals?

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, I am encouraged by the awareness across companies of every description, and especially in the technology industry.  And, I’m reminded that real change takes real effort and time for new norms to surface across society. I look forward to seeing what a difference we can make by International Women’s Day 2020.