On June 18th 2018 www.mylearningacademy.com and www.yourbusinesshive.com collaborated to host a women entrepreneurship and technology #wentech summit. The aim of the summit was to have an open dialogue between our panellists and audience on the challenges faced by women in tech and the key issues hindering women from soaring in entrepreneurship and leadership.
During the summit, it became clear that the main reasons for fewer women in tech, leadership and entrepreneurship are:
- The lack of role-models for women within the sector;
- The lack of talent pool;
- An uneven playing field;
- Access to networks.
There is a lack of female role models in the tech industry for young girls to follow in their footsteps and study these subjects.
Although in recent years there has been an increase in women entering high levels in technology roles, women are still in the minority compared to the number of male role models in the sector. Also, Figures show that fewer women are studying technology-based subjects at school and university meaning employers have fewer women to choose from when recruiting.
Furthermore, women are almost four times more likely than men to think they have fewer opportunities for advancement because of their gender, and twice as likely to think their gender will make advancement harder to achieve. Women are much more likely than men to say they have missed out on an assignment or advancement, and that they are less often consulted on important decisions, because of their gender.
Lastly, women’s and men’s networks are similar in size but different in composition, with more men in men’s networks. Since men are more likely to hold leadership positions, women may have significantly less access to senior-level people who can help them advance. And fewer women report help from such people in advancing.
Now we have insight into the disturbing reasons we don’t have more women in tech, entrepreneurship & leadership, it’s time to work on creating the solutions. We can do so by advocating for:
- Reverse mentoring: pairing top leaders (often male) with female mentors who have been identified as future leaders. The mentor/mentee meet regularly, each learning from the other.
- The buddy system: matching senior leaders (mostly male) to rising female talent for one to two years. The objective of which is to build confidence, create visibility of talent internally, and provide access to stretch assignments.
- Unique family support: setting up innovative programs that enable employees with families to retain demanding positions without the worry of leaving children at home, which helps to reduce the choice women often must make between family and work.
It is our duty as a nation to come together to foster the women inclusion in our societies tech, leadership and entrepreneurship systems. This will require a wide-ranging long-term effort, but it should be a critical concern for societies that want to perform at the highest levels.
Sonia; Founder Starup Afrik