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Women in Tech – The Women Who #InspireInclusion

International Women’s Day is today, March 8. Each year, there is a different theme, and this year’s theme is “Inspire Inclusion” (#InspireInclusion). The website explains:

“The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment. Collectively, let’s forge a more inclusive world for women.”

Traditionally male dominated, the Tech Sector is slowly becoming more inclusive, but there is still an awful long way to go:

  • As per the latest data, women hold just 26.7% of tech-related jobs.
  • The total number of women in tech-related positions has actually decreased by 2.1% over the last few years.
  • Of a sample of 552,751 tech employees across 56 companies, just 141,038 employees are women.
  • Of 141,038 women in technology-related jobs, 79,163 (56%) are women of color.

We spoke to female executives from Datadobi and Intellias, who shared their thoughts on this important day:

 

Erica Cronan, Global Director of Marketing, Datadobi said:

“I love International Women’s Day – it’s like a global pep rally celebrating how far we ladies have come while firing us up to keep that momentum raging. You can’t help but feel inspired thinking about the bold trailblazers throughout history who broke down barriers against all odds. The unstoppable suffragettes, straight-up heroes like RBG, Amelia Earhart, Serena – those unapologetic women heard “no” and “you can’t” as a challenge to demolish.

“Because of their grit and vision, we now get to chase any ambition without archaic limits or questioning our equality as women. We’re CEOs, world leaders, champion athletes – because they kicked open doors that used to be locked shut. Of course, there’s still work to be done. But on this day, I like reveling in how women have defied the haters again and again, proving our limitless potential.

“IWD means toasting the brave ones before us while channeling that same spirit as we keep forging new paths. The future’s looking so bright for women and girls – now that’s something worth cheering loud and proud!”

 

Sandy Mahla, District Sales Manager, Datadobi:

“International Women’s Day (IWD) is a good time to both reflect and set our sights on work that remains. As a working woman in a field still dominated by men, I see how far women have come through sheer grit, determination and necessity to provide for ourselves and our families. The battles fought by previous generations like Grace Hopper, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, our moms and aunts make our journey easier. And, I am grateful for organizations, like Datadobi, that provide opportunities for employees to thrive based on their merits and contribute to their full potential.

“But there is still work to do. How is it in 2024 we are still dealing with pay gaps, being passed over for promotions, and having to fight twice as hard to get a seat at the table? And why do we as women feel we must be more than fully qualified for a new role while our male colleagues are willing to “go for it” with half the experience? The hard work is figuring out how to build organizations that don’t just give lip service about diversity but genuinely hear and value different voices and perspectives.

“It’s easy for companies to initiate some training and call it a day on diversity. But creating a culture where each person feels empowered to speak up, turn off their phones at night, take their PTO and be part of something bigger than themselves is the trick. That’s the difficult part we’ve got to keep grinding on, day in and day out. Creating workplaces where people feel secure enough to offer new ideas, point out obstacles and discuss discrepancies without fear of reprisal is key.”

Viktoriya Tsytsak, Senior Director, Head of CEO Office, Intellias said:

“Despite the progress that’s been made, gender bias and stereotypes continue to pose challenges for women in both education and the workplace. This is changing as women are taking charge of their development and growth. Still, the journey to high-level positions can be particularly challenging. However, there are now two aspects of leadership that are helping women to overcome those challenges.

“The first is to focus on the development of strategic thinking while navigating complex challenges and driving innovation in tech-related industries. Women leaders who excel in strategic thinking can effectively contribute to and shape the direction of their organizations, leading them to sustainable growth and success. The second is building high-performing teams, especially in tech, where collaboration and innovation are paramount.

“Women leaders who can create inclusive environments, where diverse perspectives are valued and teams are empowered, can drive tangible business results and outperform competitors.”

Tsytsak continued,

“Women’s economic empowerment is important to unlocking the full potential of female talent and creativity. Lifelong learning and professional development play a significant role in this empowerment process, and there are two important components in this journey. First, investment in personal development to stay current with industry trends, and develop professionally and personally. Second, investment in the development of others to boost the broader potential for team members, the business and communities.

“During my work in Strategic Consulting and IT Services, I founded several professional and leadership development programs. They included mentoring others to help them enter STEM or switch to STEM from other industries. I also co-founded an MBA program focused on executives in the digital transformation area.

“Such tailored and customized programs open up equal opportunities, and at the same time help businesses achieve their strategic aspirations. When women are economically empowered through learning opportunities and professional development, it contributes to better engagement at the workplace and more diversity and inclusion.”

Hana Rivić, Head of AI, Intellias added:

“I believe women and men are equally capable of working in whatever field they choose. For me, it was STEM, and my love for STEM started early in life. I always liked maths, and since the first grade of elementary school, I was amazed by geometry. On that path, what made me successful is persistence and dedication to finding a solution and the ability to recognize where I can get help if needed.

“We must inspire inclusion from a young age. Young girls need access to great teachers and education with extra support from mentors, so they can believe in themselves to develop their passions into a profession with no boundaries.

“In tech and science-related industries, there needs to be greater opportunities and support for women to excel. This includes increased representation in leadership and technical roles, closing the gender pay gap, fostering inclusive work environments with mentorship and flexibility, encouraging girls and women to pursue STEM education and careers, and recognizing and valuing diverse perspectives. By promoting these measures, we can create a more equitable and inclusive landscape, harnessing the full potential of women’s talents for innovation and progress.

“Also, I believe universally and in all industries, one of the main challenges women face in their careers is when they take maternity leave. In fast-changing fields, prolonged absence can lead women to fall behind through no fault of their own. I advocate for companies to provide ample support for women upon their return, offering opportunities for learning and catching up to mitigate the impact on their advancement and promotions. I believe as a society, we should work on improving overall work-life balance for everyone and help to close the gaps for any inequality. Inspiring inclusion.”