Promoting Women in Tech: Are We There Yet?

Women in tech

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In December 2020, Tempo hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion entitled Promoting Women in Tech: Are We There Yet? Participants in the conversation included:

  • Colette Dill-Lerner, CMO at Tempo and Operating Partner at Diversis
  • Charlotte Joseph-Smith, Senior Partner Marketing Manager at Adaptavist
  • Danica Arthur-Asante, Developer at Adaptavist
  • Ruchi Bahadur, Senior Product Manager at Tempo
  • Julia Atlygina, SAFe expert at ALM Works
  • Justine Violante, Head of Marketing at Beecom Products and Worldwebforum

These six women across a range of ethnicities and family situations came together to discuss the barriers that women and those who identify as women face at work, and what needs to change in the workplace to push towards gender equality. 

As moderator Colette Dill-Lerner pointed out in the opening remarks, it’s clear that companies with gender diversity see a lot of advantages. These range from heightened creativity to a higher bottom line. See just a spattering of the research:

  • An analysis of 2,400 global companies found that companies with at least one woman on the board yield higher return on equity than companies with all-male boards. 
  • Another study of 4,277 Spanish companies found that companies with more women are more likely to introduce new innovative products into the market. 
  • McKinsey research has found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those companies in the fourth quartile.

Still, in spite of all the benefits, gender diversity is chronically lagging in tech, which is why Tempo assembled this panel - to engage, to discuss, and to explore the current state of women in tech. The questions were wide-ranging and included:

  • How do you balance work, life and personal responsibilities?
  • Is it easier or harder balancing everything in a remote work world?
  • How do you think about a company relative to diversity, and how do you choose the right company, especially in 2020?
  • Have you had to code-switch in the workplace (that is, alter the ways in which you speak)?
  • How have you found the culture to be helpful in your company? Are there any issues within your geographic region that are helpful or harmful to women in the workplace?
  • Did you take any career breaks, and how do you feel like they impacted you?
  • Have there been instances in your career where you found a champion?

Many panelists discussed the need to move beyond traditional structures to make things work. They agreed on the importance of supportive family and employers. One panelist told of her experience in interviews, where a company asked if she could manage both work and family. Another panelist in her 20s said companies regard her as a “ticking time bomb” about to have children at any moment. 

A poll asked those watching the event what some of their experiences had been like during interviews. One woman was asked “Do you dress like that all the time?” 

It’s clear we still have a ways to go. The one-hour panel concluded with an invitation to continue the discussion on World Web Forum. To see the full conversation, check out the recording.

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