Monday, April 04, 2016

Women in Tech: learning to code, getting a raise, making your dream a reality

3 things that tell you that an organization is male dominant:
  • An empty office during a Football World Cup Final.
  • A team dinner at a bar!
  • An office filled with Grey and Black color tones.
Women are often the subjugated population in the tech world due to the hard felt presence of sexism that exists in the segment. They constantly feel discriminated, are a minority in the industry, underpaid, and often misrepresented. I was appalled to see a recent study in the UK, on the gender pay gap in some gut wrenching yet meticulous graphs.

Jane Lansing says in her blog that there are only two ways a woman can “fit in” without having to “tough it out” in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field, or, ahem, what I would call a man's world. The first is to commit to knowing your own mind and speaking it.

That said, the other alternatives to fight the never ending and exhausting battle are of course practical solutions that help you tackle the problem at large. You see, often we ignore the solutions that lay right before us and jump to resolve issues in the most complicated manner. If I were a woman in tech, I’d first ensure I got my fundamentals right and by that I mean I would have to excel in the said field. Luckily, we are privy to a few courses and communities for women that help in self empowerment. Girls Who Code is one such program that inspires, educates and equips girls with computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Hacking For Women offers scholarship for ambitious women entering technology. Interestingly, the founder, Shannon has launched what she calls Code Shannon which is a fund-it-forward scholarship program to enable women to overcome the gender gap in technology. Likewise, there are a plethora of small groups that have made empowerment of women their sole mission and are doing a great job achieving it.
Women's Coding Collective is one such web development community with a mission to narrow the gender gap in technology. They offer two-week online courses which begin at $50. Another online platform for women to learn is the Ladies Learning Code, they have private workshops and teen clubs for girls to start young.
The existence of such platforms provides opportunities and broadens avenues for women who wish to join the Tech world. Girl Develop IT is a non-profit organization which provides affordable opportunities for women to learn web and software development. They have regular classes and community support groups that aim to help women from diverse backgrounds too.
The women from the 80s may not have had so many resources at their disposition and thus Jane Lansing mentions that most of them “vanished” after a few years of joining tech companies. The key to sustain a tech career is to keep oneself updated with the innovations and new systems. Therefore, its important for women to ask the right questions and get answers accordingly. Women Who Code is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspire and connect successful women from tech backgrounds to share their stories and encourage more women reach for their dreams. They cater to the umpteen questions that women have regarding their tech careers.

  • We are thrilled to see the outcome of the CSW60 (Commission on the Status of Women) held in New York by the UN earlier this month. They planned to implement the new 15-year Global Development roadmap.
  • A dedicated news website called Project Ada contains informative news pieces about women in technology all over the world.
  • An event called Breakthrough Technologies and innovations that empower women was held on March 16th, similar events are being conducted regularly. 

It is hard to be a woman in a male dominant world and its harder when you are in the tech field. But, you can be a complete badass if you are up-to-date on your skills and expertise. So, don't hold yourself back and get down to business. Shree Bose, Co-Founder of Piper said “I think the best piece of advice I can give to anyone with a dream is to never be afraid to share your dreams and talk about what you wish to create and see in the world. It’s often hard to share those pipedreams at the risk that they might not work out, but you never know who has the collaborations, networks, and visions to make your dreams a reality. So be careful and vigilant and protect yourself intelligently of course, but never be afraid to ask for help.”

Are you a lone standing woman in tech? What have been your observations of the industry regarding sexism? We would love to hear from you.

Adela Belin | Blogger