Time Magazine has just told me that the way to end the gender gap in tech is to run girl’s summer coding camps. Sure.
And then what do you do when those girls try to enter the industry? How are you going to ensure that their potential employer gives them and equal chance … and an equal salary? How will you ensure that her peers will cheer her on, value her opinion and accept her recommendations? And what happens if, heavens forbid, those girls don’t actually like to code and write off the industry because of it?
You can’t fix the gender gap with quotas either. I don’t want to be hired because it makes your equality statistics look good. If a guy is more suited for the role and better at it than me, give it to him. But if you give it to me, you better be offering me the same salary and benefits.
To REALLY fix the gender gap:
- Talk to boys & girls equally about I.T. careers. Tech subjects in schools, careers day and universities should show both genders the large range of opportunities open to all of them. How the girls are treated in a mixed environment in the tech classroom will influence whether they take the next step into the industry as a career.
- Don’t hire managers or team members who are dicks. Not in the physical sense and notice I didn’t say men. I hate painting all men in the I.T & technology industries with the brush used by a bunch of dicks who like to degrade their female colleagues and industry peers (and even superiors).
- Don’t perpetuate a misogynistic culture. Make sure your team environment is respectful and stand up against things you see in the industry that paint women as anything less than equally talented contributors.
- Listen and act. Don’t ignore any suggestions from your team members, female or male. If you do have a valid reason for not adopting their suggestion, give them feedback with your valid reason to back it up. If you’re too scared to tell them why you are saying no, you might want to rethink why you’re saying no.
- The same job opportunity & the same pay. Don’t think I need to spell that one out any more.
Females who are successful in I.T. do become role models for girls who might want to enter the industry. Let’s give those women a story to tell of an industry where they felt supported and equal to their work mates, with opportunities to shine and advance. That’s how you’ll attract the right (not necessarily ‘more’) girls to into tech.