We’ve had a whirlwind of summits the past five weeks: Sydney, Dallas, and London. In Dallas, I co-chaired with Debra Logan our our first women in technology and diversity forum that included a presentation, roundtable, breakfast and workshop! To me, this is amazing progress from what started simply as a women in BI luncheon three years ago.
We know that lack of diversity in tech is a huge challenge. Women are leaving IT for a myriad of reasons. If we continue on this path, our current ~30% make up of the technology workforce may mean women will only make up 3% of the workforce by 2020 (according to U.S. Department of Labor and Girls Who Code.org estimates). The decline is worse in certain technology sectors than others. For example, BI, data, and analytics seems better than security ( see this note: Survey Analysis: Gender Diversity in Security and Risk Management Provides the Talent to Address the Skills Shortage).
Below are some of the best words of wisdom from the roundtables and workshops on how we can reverse this course:
- Bring data! Make the case for improving diversity using data on current statistics, return on investment and declining enrollments in STEM. See this note (Diversity’s Role in an Effective Digital Workplace Program.)
- Become involved with your local high school or junior high. Look for opportunities to volunteer with “Girls Who Code”, “She++” , or “Girls in Tech” initiatives.
- Check out what San Antonio and UCLA are doing for girls and women in tech education.
- Regarding the pay gap, also bring data, then ASK! For information on the pay gap in BI, data, and analytics, refer to this article from TDWI.
- Everyone—do unconscious bias training. Everyone. Work with your human resources department to identify and eliminate the unintentional ways we make it hard for women and minorities to be heard and to succeed.
- Get a mentor. Get several. Find a community that provides support.
- Invest in your skills on empowerment, negotiation, finding your voice.
- Men must be part of this conversation, to understand and to help change the status quo. Look for opportunities for honest discussion.
Women do not want the quotas. We don’t ever want to be hired because we are women; we want to be hired because we are the best for the job. It’s just sometimes hard to succeed when it’s not a level playing field and other dynamics are at work.
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