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Diversity in the tech industry

I’ve had the opportunity to work across several different male-dominated sectors throughout my career. I’ve noticed the tech industry, in particular, is very much a male-dominated field. I often ask myself the reason for this disparity – why do more men work in oil and gas, tech, and blockchain? Where are all the women? And, where is the diversity in the tech industry? With fewer than 5% of tech businesses having been founded by women, many pundits tend to blame sexism, favoritism, and inequality for this situation.

I’ve found that the more superficial answers to these questions are often based on gender stereotypes; society believes certain industries are simply “more suitable” for men – Here’s the thing… I don’t think that’s accurate, nor factually the case for this and other industries.

In a previous blog post I mentioned that more women are realizing that their dream jobs might be in tech; However, I also mentioned that many women continue to cling to beliefs and behaviours that only hold them back. A closed mindset, judgment, and a lack of belief in themselves are just some of these limitations.

So, in fact, the root cause of this disparity could be far less based on sex and stigma, and far more on self-limiting behaviours.

In contrast, industry leaders tend to exhibit many common positive personality traits – they’re driven, they fight for what they want, they don’t take no for an answer, and they are willing to make the essential sacrifices necessary to succeed.

This is common amongst all high-ranking positions in almost every industry, so the question remains… is the disparity in tech really based on gender? Or, do some women avoid uncomfortable situations that could power us forward?

Men tend to get a lot of business done outside of the office; whether that’s playing golf, hiking, skiing etc, and many women could get out of their comfort zone and add this valuable tool to their repertoire. 20 minutes in ski pants or hunting gear will not only create diversity in the tech industry, but it could also potentially set your business up for the next ten years!

Now don’t get me wrong, I do NOT condone harassment in these activities, or think that it’s the only way of getting things done. I just want women to have another tool in their toolbelt. Another avenue or option to procure business.  

I close a lot of business because I shoot, I get on a motorcycle, I hunt, and I’m active in male bonding activities. It wouldn’t hurt if a few more women learnt these skills. And in fact, I think a lot of people would welcome and appreciate you trying!

This is relationship building; and the thing about relationship building is, occasionally you’ll have to build these relationships in unique ways. I’ve seen a lot of women say they don’t want to participate, that they should be treated differently because they are women. Not only does this diminish your opportunities, but it also damages the image of something like the #metoo movement!

I’m not trying to discredit any valid sexist claims, because I know they still exist and run rampant at times. I simply want women everywhere to become more assertive and know that they can make a difference for themselves by getting out of their comfort zone. It’s time to stop and analyze, take risks, make new relationships, be more assertive and do everything we can to manifest diversity in the tech industry.

I also want to make sure that equality and stereotypes are not being used as a crutch. A crutch that’s holding us back from a more empowered and successful career path; one that could even out the playing field, and work towards improving that 5% figure.