Kate Adams, Director of Demand Generation, SmartBear Software
According to, "Solving for XX," a CNET special report
, as of 2015 only 30 percent of people working in the tech industry are women. Go a level deeper and only 14.3 percent of board seats
at the top 100 tech companies by revenue in June of 2013 were women, according to a survey by executive recruitment firm, Korn Ferry. Even at Apple, a world leader in diversity and inclusion both as a brand and as a company, women only hold 20 percent of the technical jobs, 35 percent of non-technical roles and 28 percent of leadership jobs.
Combine this with the latest trend in that feminism is the new f word, you wouldn't dare mention it in front of your team of millennials. If you do happen to use the term, be prepared to receive that signature eye roll every millennial seems to have mastered. In full disclosure, I can say this because I am a millennial, although not one that views feminism as the latest addition to the naughty word list. Maybe The New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd is right and Feminism is dead
. Maybe there are just too many polarizing issues associated with the term feminism, too many "pro-'s" which equate to far too many cons for many women.
Enough of this henny penny stuff, the sky isn't falling. This is just reality. We have far too few women included within one of the industries who are literally building the future. In addition, feminism, the women's movement, women's lib or womanism are all so polarizing to the next generation of women who can actually do something about it.
Throughout my career, I've been fortunate enough to work with women who've empowered me, picked me up when I was down and shown me a light down the path to success. I've also had other women try to diminish me to make their own light shine brighter. I don't share my own experience to bucket these women in any way or villainize anyone, I share my experience because I know nearly every woman reading this has had the same experience. I understand why we don't always hold each other up, it's like the old saying goes, "It's far easier to tear down someone else's building than to go out and build the world's tallest building."
So, here's my ask to women in technology - please help each other and come together. I ask every woman reading this to think long and hard about the women in your organizations and in organizations you've worked for in the past. What have you done to help these women get to their next step? When was the last time you called to offer a helping hand? When was the last time you saw a woman do an amazing job and stop to celebrate her or tell her manager how impressed you were? I'll be the first to admit, there have been plenty of moments in my career when I could have done more, helped more, encouraged more and celebrated more. I could have done better and I didn't.
So why didn't I do more? Why did I let all those times pass me by without acting? For me, I didn't think my actions would be significant enough to matter. I didn't think that the actions I would take would be meaningful enough to make a difference. I've changed my mind though, because I've come to realize this problem won't be solved by one sweeping change by Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai or anyone else. This change is going to happen brick-by-brick, by the 30 percent of us who are representing women in the industry today. We don't teach our children that if they want to change something, they should go ask someone to do it for them. We teach them to do it for themselves. We must remember this same lesson. By lifting each other up, we can build the tallest buildings much faster than trying to do it on our own, or even worse, by tearing each other down.
I don't care what we call it, I don't care what symbol we use for it, but I do care that we come together, help one another and make the tech industry a place where women look first for a best place to work.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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