Gender Inclusion in Tech: Being an Ally
Mindera - Global Software Engineering Company
2023 Mar 7 - 1min. Read
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Minders supporting each other!
With International Women’s Day being on the 8th of March this year, we thought it would be cool to look into a brief history of women in tech! We got in touch with some amazing Minders to find out what they thought about female representation in tech with insight into how to be an ally!
We also thought it would be cool to mention how some of our clients have gender inclusion and diversity initiatives. This sees them making a concerted effort to enrol women, one client hosts an academy, and on that particular partnership, we’re now at an amazing 50/50 split of men and women on the team!
Women in IT and Tech: A Brief History:
When you think of the IT and tech scene today, you may think of a male-dominated sector with less female representation. But would you believe that it hasn’t always been like this, and women used to be the leading figures on the tech scene?
Women have played a vital role in developing technology and computing history; unfortunately, contributions have often been overlooked or underrepresented. For example, many of the first computer programmers in history were women. In fact, THE first computer programmer is recognised as Ada Lovelace, who wrote the world's first computer program! She truly serves as a role model to women aspiring to work in the tech industry!
In the Second World War, women were often encouraged to take on roles to assist with the war efforts; one role, in particular, was the ‘human computer’. This saw women calculate ballistics by hand so firing angles could be determined. More women dominated this field than men but were not formally recognised as analysts. Instead, they were asked to describe their work as secretarial…. How insulting after all that hard work to not get the recognition they deserve!
There are so many notable women who have contributed astonishingly to tech and software development as we know it today! Check out the source at the end of this section to learn more about these remarkable women and their achievements!
A fantastic example to look into is Admiral Dr Grace Hopper. She is arguably one of the most influential and inspirational computer scientists of all time, and she can be credited with creating the first accessible computer programming language in English. Dr Hopper’s story is one of true motivation and perseverance. After being told her idea wouldn’t work due to the limitations of computer language, she persisted until her ideas became a reality.
There are so many other stories like this: women in tech were told no, but they persisted in showing that their ideas were badass and immensely valuable to tech and computing.
You might now be wondering… Well, why is the tech landscape not the same today?
The truth is plain and straightforward - computing became more professionalised and male-dominated after the war, which increased barriers for women looking to enter tech. It was a view of the time that men would do the ‘professionalised’ work, while women would instead do menial tasks that men didn’t have the time to do…
Unfortunately, this trend persisted in software development, and we can see a lack of female and female-presenting presence in tech, especially in leadership roles. However, many moves are being made to promote diversity and inclusion of all genders within software development and tech. For example, there are some super epic coding charities and initiatives to encourage young women and girls into tech - we will link some of these at the end of this article!
If you want to watch a cool, inspirational, and educational movie that’s also a true story about influential African-American women and their role in NASA, we recommend Hidden Figures!
Want to read in more depth about the history of women in tech? This is a great source!
Men: The Allies All Genders Need in Software Development:
There are many initiatives and charities that support women looking to move into a tech career, and we’ll link some of these at the end of this article! But let’s look more specifically at what men can do to help increase gender inclusion and diversity, specifically in tech.
- Speak up and be an ally: calling out and challenging any gender bias, discrimination or harassment you come across can help support all genders in their tech journey and with their career growth;
- Support any gender-related initiatives: get involved in movements and initiatives that support all genders in tech - promote these within your workplace!!
- Hire and promote diversity: make an effort when recruiting to help those from underrepresented groups. You can also help create a workplace culture that is inclusive and welcoming of all employees!
- Education is critical: read up and learn about the challenges women and other underrepresented groups face in tech and software development. It’s always a good idea to keep learning and looking into workshops on things like this!
- Set an example for others in your workplace: encourage inclusive practices and seek to amplify the voices and stories of all genders!
Quotes from Our Minders:
“My experience of working with Women in tech has been amazing. My biggest career move to date has been the change in my job profile from a QA to a Product Owner, and this was made possible by the support of my Product manager. After the change in role, she helped me understand the challenges which the new role will bring and how I can utilise my current experiences to face them. She guided me through the interview process and how can I use my learnings to crack it. I always feel that she could appreciate my concerns & fears about the new role much better than any male could at that time, and her experience & skills could help me overcome those, which ultimately led me to be successful in the interview. While I always stand for Gender equality, due to my personal experiences, I believe Women make the best leaders.
Industry and Business leaders need to appreciate that if they want products that work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone. Diversity at all levels of technology is more important now than ever, so we need to ensure there are more women at all levels of technology. Also, women need to recognise and embrace their uniqueness!”
When we spoke with Varun, he expressed that supporting women in their career journeys is crucial to achieving inclusion and diversity, especially in tech! He also shared this image with us:
“I’ve always been saddened by the lack of women in my profession. Software engineering and all the roles that sit alongside it have no facets that would advantage one gender over another. It’s a level playing field, no matter how you identify. Yet, men continue to dominate the profession, and we are all the worse for it. Writing excellent software is more than a science; it requires creativity and imagination. Excellent code is poetry, not just algorithms. To achieve that standard of output, you need a diverse group of people contributing their passion and experience. You cannot do that without women.”
Non-Profit Organisations That Promote Women In Tech:
- Women in Technology International (WITI): A global organisation that provides women in tech with educational resources, networking, and career development support. They offer a range of initiatives to help women advance in tech careers.
- AnitaB.org: Intending to create a more equitable and diverse tech industry, AnitaB advocates for and supports women in tech by offering mentorships, networking events, and career development resources!
- TechGirlz: Another super non-profit organisation that inspires young women to pursue careers in technology by offering hands-on workshops and resources that introduce them to various tech-related topics. With programs on coding, web design and software development, this organisation helps girls develop interest and skills in technology as well as confidence.
Do you want to partner with a software company that promotes diversity and inclusion in every project and in whatever we do? Get in touch!
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