The Better Work Project: Women in Tech

28 July

How do women navigate the tech world? Is their experience that much different from their male counterparts? In this podcast, we're delighted to be joined by two Boston natives and tech powerhouses, Michelle Broadbent and Jill Callinan to discuss the topic of women in tech. Michelle and Jill bring to light some of the real challenges that women in tech face, and how we might go about changing for the better.

 

Summary    

  • Women encounter different treatment in the workplace. It’s a learned mentality. For instance, women are regularly talked over or shut down in meetings.
  • Often times women aren’t invited to or can’t attend social activities due to childcare which shuts them out of important opportunities to build connection.
  • Women need to be confident, competent, and caring. Men only tend to need to be confident.
  • Women having time off for children can derail a career. The impact of childbirth is significant on women in the workplace and issues such as postpartum depression are not widely discussed.
  • Women experience being objectified, having comments more about looks rather than on their work. Treatment can often be demoralising and insulting.
  • Women are often held to a higher standard.
  • Men often have the titles but not the competence and experience that women do without the titles.
  • Women often get passed over and can start to lose confidence and feel invisible.
  • Technology and financial service industries can be difficult industries for women.
  • An old school mentality of leadership can sway views where confidence is competence.
  • Often times men don’t attend and don’t know how to engage with women in tech sessions.
  • Awareness and allies are important for change.
  • Companies need to change. Half of employees are women.
  • Women ‘leaning in’ is one-sided. It’s well-intended but doesn’t help to gain alignment.
  • Women often take the lead in a family situation. But women also often feel like they have to make up time so then work harder/longer hours. There’s a pull to feel like they need to perform at work and at home, this creates constant pressure. That’s amplified for single mothers.
  • Finding allies at work is important to bounce ideas off, provide support, foster confidence and provide feedback.
  • Agile brings more things to the table because transparency is a core value.  However, we still have a long way to go.
  • The hiring process needs to focus on what makes people qualified. This could include taking out names so that gender or race isn’t a bias. We just need to look at the best fit.
  • It’s important to have a range of perspectives in the hiring process. We typically see a focus on university qualifications, we should take other things into consideration, particularly experience.
  • We want to see a range of different traits. We often hire people that are like us, but diversity is important.
  • We need to hire leaders that understand people.
  • It’s important to keep talking about this.
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