In British Columbia women make up 15-20 percent of the workforce in tech—this is a staggering 25-30 percent less than the Canadian average. As we try to get to parity, it’s critical that we not only address the larger issues that are preventing women from pursuing careers in tech but also the issues that affect women working in the industry day-to-day. If you are looking to attract more women to your company here are a few simple things you can do to stand out. Put Women in Leadership Roles It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to have women in leadership roles within your company. This means women in the C-suite and not just in middle management roles. Potential hires and women just starting out within your company need to be able to see that there is potential for them to move up and be in a leadership role themselves one day. Not only do women in leadership serve as role models to your team they also help raise profits. A report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with a C-suite made up of 30 percent women had a net 15% increase in profitability than those that had no women. Allow Female Employees to Guide Company Culture Being a male-dominated industry the culture in tech can sometimes emulate a frat house where ping pong, craft beer, and video games reign supreme for bonding. While some women will love and thrive in this environment, not all will. It’s important for tech companies to ensure that women have space at the table when it comes to designing company culture. Picking activities that engage both sexes will help attract more women to your company and will help them feel more connected to the team. Be Vigilant About Sexism in the Workplace Sexism isn’t always blatant so it’s important to ensure that you create and reinforce policies that outlaw it in the office. Here are few things you can do to make your office more inviting to women:
- Ban sexist jokes. Sexist jokes aren’t funny and perpetuate an environment where women are made to feel lesser.
- Ensure that women aren’t the only ones responsible for domestic duties.Getting the coffee, ordering the catering, and keeping the office tidy should be shared responsibilities for everyone in the office.
- Outlaw interruptions during meetings and presentations. A recent study found that in the workplace, women are more likely to speak less and are interrupted more than men when they do. By allowing everyone to speak without the fear of interruptions creates an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions and feeling heard.
- Educate about unconscious bias. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside of their conscious awareness. Women often suffer from unconscious bias in the workplace and taking the time to address these words and actions helps people to change their way of thinking and acting. Calling out and addressing these biases when they occur will create a culture where women will be on equal footing with men.