Since the turn of the millennium, women have made huge progress in their involvement in the workforce. To begin with, women constitute almost 47% of the total workforce in the US, according to figures released by Catalyst in June 2019.
The kinds of roles and professions women choose to have also widened. In fact, more than 50% of all professional degrees are earned by women, according to data published by the National Center for Education Statistics. Given that the 2000s has been a period of unprecedented technological advancements, IT careers are among the most sought after. On the other hand, this is also a space that is characterized by a major gender gap.
Challenges Faced by Women in Tech
Tech-intensive industries are known for their masculine culture. Despite comprising of almost half the total labor force, women hold only a quarter of the tech jobs, says an article published by Adeva. This is because women face a number of challenges.
Women typically begin at lower levels and earn much less than their male counterparts in the same role. They lack female role models and many feel like outsiders in the workplace.
How to Overcome the Challenges
Don’t dress like men. Many women feel that they must dress in a particular way to be taken seriously in tech-intensive companies. This is the reason they adorn business suits and formal wear. However, casual wear has become increasingly popular, especially in tech firms. Comfort should be a priority, as it impacts performance. Dressing like a woman can make you appear more confident. Moreover, it’s a great motivation for other women aspiring to get into tech but worried that they will not fit in. A printed dress with collars and some sporty details like a zip mock neck can create the perfect balance between formal and casual, say designers at Jude Connally, a leading all-American lifestyle brand.
Find a business that has a positive gender diverse culture. Some companies actively foster a culture of gender diversity. During the interview, it’s okay to ask about the company’s culture and working styles. At the end of a job interview, interviewees are typically given the opportunity to ask questions. This time should be used to learn about the company rather than general job details, says an article published by Kununu.
Don’t underestimate your skills. Studies indicate that men tend to exude more confidence than their female counterparts. Being outnumbered by the opposite gender in the tech space can be overwhelming. Women need to work on their confidence levels. Avoid beating yourself up and focus on your successes. When assigned a task, let people know how excited you are and that you will be able to finish it.
Build your personal branding: It’s important to build strong relationships within the workplace and women are good at doing this. They should not give up this strength. Women need to learn to be vocal in meetings while remaining positive. Building your presentation skills and leadership qualities can also help.
Since the tech space is male-dominated, your superiors, mentors and colleagues will most likely be men. It’s important for women to keep in perspective that they’re here to advance their careers and men can help them achieve this goal. Waging a gender war or being over-sensitive will not do the company or one’s career any good.