This is one of the most fascinating topics that one gets to write about.
Especially now. For all of the challenges that women still face today and not just in the workplace but when starting on our own in the traditionally male-dominated “tech” industry, the truth is that there has never been a better time in history to claim your space as a strong, purpose-driven woman.
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS IN THE TECH WORLD.
A quick consideration before we get started. First, some housekeeping. We call it “TECH” but what we’re referring to is STEM: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics and you’ll often hear the terms used interchangeably.
While the world has come leaps and bounds towards a more egalitarian society, there are persisting challenges and potential pitfalls that women face that are unique to our quest for greater independence and equality. Not least of these is “unconscious bias”.
“Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) is often defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favour of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair. … As a result of unconscious biases, certain people benefit and other people are penalized.” With thanks to Van der Bilt university.
Never mind the proverbial glass ceiling of having to put up with the endless barrage of “jokes” and “banter”, this one element remains dangerously persistent and what makes it particularly hard to navigate is that the “perpetrators” are often, as the name suggests, entirely unaware of their own bias. Without moving too far away from the goal of this post, there is an astoundingly good read about the topic in much detail here. So without focusing too much on this idea, it is nevertheless well worth keeping in the “ether” when entering this world – after all, knowledge is power and knowing how to recognise this particular challenge – and then overcoming it will help make you a force to be reckoned with.
HERE’S WHY THE TECH WORLD NEEDS YOU.
So you fancy yourself a “Techie?”
It can seem like there is quite a bit stacked against you – and you’re not wrong, but if you’re the type of woman who can see herself in this incredibly vibrant, innovative and lucrative industry, you have probably already encountered quite a bit of prejudice whether intended or otherwise, already. But here is some encouraging data for you.
Diversity creates revenue. Point blank. There is no doubt about it as study after study reveals that greater diversity in the workplace especially amongst women of all backgrounds has proven. So even when confronting the hardest of boys clubs, the mighty “£” still reigns supreme and boy do they know it.
Breaking news: Women think differently. While our male counterparts seem to enjoy the lion’s share of pragmatism, women can grasp a multitude of complexities simultaneously and offer greater empathetic intelligence to the mix besides.
EMPOWERING SMART TECH WOMEN
Now, this can all seem a bit intimidating. After all, not all of us have aspirations towards becoming petroleum or chemical engineers, but the beauty of this industry is that you can enter this marketplace as an employee or as a small business owner – at home, in your own time.
A Google search on the topic will show you that there is no shortage of web developers, graphic designers, app designers and testers, data programmers and there are no signs of this slowing down and there’s a good reason for it. As the global population continues to explode, so too are the growing demands for solutions based technologies and as a result – a workforce that can enable them.
If you’re going to go out on your own, you’ll need to know what it takes to start a business and once you’re comfortable with that, then take the time to know the types of tech-related businesses that you could start and that will give you access to this vast and profitable marke.
Web design and maintenance, stockbroking, online marketing and advertising, social media manager, statistical analysis services or even comprehensive agencies that manage all of these functions and the best part of all is that you don’t need to know everything all the time. Creating concept documents that take the pain away from your potential clients doesn’t mean that you have to do all of the legwork.
If you’re not (yet) skilled in everything that the tech world needs right now, all you need to “be” is the business solutions service that makes it happen. So sub-contracting to advertising agencies, design freelancers for graphics, and an SEO agency for website optimisation and “searchability” will make your life easier.
Did you know that some of the biggest names in female-driven STEM industries started as employees or small businesses and these women are changing the landscape of the tech revolution to get inspired?
WOMEN ARE CHANGING AND THE WORLD IS CHANGING BECAUSE OF IT
Ever heard that African proverb “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman – you educate a nation”? Well, turns out it’s true.
As more women have changed the face of corporations in general, this has spilt over into STEM industries too. IBM published a report all about empowering women’s success in technology and more organisations are beginning to see the value of a diversified workplace.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE FOR WOMEN
This blog regularly discusses the horror that is domestic violence and the Covid-19 Pandemic hasn’t helped. But no matter what your past or current reality, there is a way out and one of the singular most powerful ways of ensuring that you get to be mistress of your future and not a slave to your past, is financial independence and the Tech industry can get you there.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the jargon and “big words”, you already have more than you know at your disposal and survival doesn’t just mean existing, it means thriving.
This is especially true if you have children that still live at home, are in college or university or still need your financial support. Financial dependence keeps thousands of women in impossible situations when there is a way out and the tech industry presents unique and interesting avenues to find your way out if this is what you’re facing.
So be inspired and remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single click.