If you search for #womenintech on any social media channel, you will find plenty of pages, conversations and ideas around the topic. I have always been intrigued by these conversations. Having worked in technology marketing for 11 years, I got to experience the participation of women in technology from different perspectives. One, I was a contributor to some extent and I worked with others like me. Secondly, I had the privilege of working with some fantastic developers, engineers, and product managers – the ladies who are at the heart of women in tech. Here are some of my observations from both of these perspectives.
Opportunity and Representation are key
This is where it starts. Organizations that provide equal opportunities for their female workforce and provide room for progress are much sought after. They are at the forefront of driving women in tech. I was fortunate to work for a company where there was female representation in both workforce and leadership. This is an encouraging trend in the IT industry in Sri Lanka. Several of them have female representation in engineering roles, as well as other business, focused roles like marketing, sales, and HR. And many of them are in leadership positions too. This is commendable for an industry that is perceived to be male-dominated.
Skills Come First
When you are in the middle of an important product release, running a marketing campaign, or trying to organize a global event, gender does not play a role in determining success. What matters are your skills, capabilities, and how you apply them to the situation. I have been part of several such successful (and not so successful) campaigns driven by gender-diverse teams. In none of these situations has gender got in the way or been a determining factor in deciding who does what. It’s your skills that take you to the places you want to go to.
Asking for Help
A common misconception people have is that most of us ladies don’t ask for help. This could be due to the high expectations set for female professionals to be able to “manage it all”. So even on days where you are far from “managing it all”, you might try to do it anyway and not ask for help. If your environment is conducive enough for you to reach out for help and your teams are understanding, it makes all the difference. Asking for help doesn’t apply only when you have too much on your plate. If you don’t have the skillsets for it, you still need to ask for help. I have worked with some incredibly talented ladies who are confident enough to do anything and even more confident to ask for help when they need it.
Empowerment goes a long way
With many young females choosing to pursue a career in technology (engineering and otherwise), guidance and mentorship have a great influence on their careers. I have seen a lot of younger females look to their senior female counterparts for inspiration and motivation. Empowerment need not be a conscious process. It can come from the simplest acts. Acknowledgement for the work they do, cheering them on when they learn a new skill, and appreciation, when they go above and beyond, are just a few ways how you can empower the up and coming women in tech.
Though this article is about women in tech, these are principles that can apply across the board. Luckily for me, I worked in an environment surrounded by talented individuals who worked towards a common purpose and support each other in doing so. To all the women in tech out there, may you continue to do great things and inspire the current and future generations to come!