If you’re a woman seeking a career in enterprise technology, you already know it’s an uphill battle. However, times are changing for women in technology and other industries. A greater push for gender equality is taking place across all industries, with women demanding equal pay while also advocating for equal representation at all levels of leadership.
According to By The Numbers, 26 percent of professional computing occupations in the US were held by women in 2017. This push is shaping a range of opportunities for aspiring female leaders, as businesses and executive leaders work to create channels for upward female mobility. This article discusses the ways women are seizing new opportunities to become enterprise leaders and transforming the tech industry.
The business case for gender equality
Many organizations are trying to increase the number of women in all positions, including senior leadership — but it isn’t out of the goodness of their hearts. Increasingly, businesses recognize the value of having gender equality at all levels of their enterprise.
Several years ago, a study by Credit Suisse found that companies with at least one woman on their executive board outperformed competitors with no female board members by 26 percent. More recently, a study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics examined 21,980 companies around the world and found that companies with strong female leadership earned a 36 percent better return on equity than companies lacking strong female representation.
Growing mentorship opportunities for women in technology
One of the greatest catalysts for change with regards to the representation of women in technology has been through concerted efforts by current female leaders to offer mentorship to younger female workers. These mentorship roles provide much-needed guidance and career counseling to women in tech eager to advance through the ranks while navigating the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated world. According to Built in Boston, multiple female executives working in tech are involved in mentoring ambitious younger workers to support them early in their careers.
Developing skills in high demand
According to CSO Online, the global cyber security industry is poised to experience a 3.5 million-person shortfall for jobs by 2021, underscoring an urgent need to develop and hire professionals qualified to serve in these enterprise roles. Women in tech aiming for leadership roles would be wise to identify these areas of need and to begin developing a resume that makes them well qualified for these roles in the future.
In the case of cybersecurity, recent waves of attacks — combined with the proliferation of IoT technology — have resulted in rapid technology developments that haven’t been matched by comparable strides in cybersecurity. This has created an opportunity for aspiring young professionals to build skill sets that will be leaned upon heavily in the near future.
How men can help
As women seek leadership opportunities in a traditionally male-dominated field, men can serve as vital allies in this process. Code Like a Girl highlights a number of ways men can support female empowerment in tech. These include educating themselves on the historic inequities of women in tech — and, more generally, the professional world — and performing small acts like making a more concerted effort to retweet women on Twitter. Men can also co-sign a Decency Pledge, posted on Medium and other websites, which seeks allies determined to work for and protect the rights of female entrepreneurs.
Women in technology have traditionally been an underrepresented group, but business culture is slowly changing, and many companies now realize that the presence of women in tech leadership roles can have a positive impact on the entire organization.
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