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Spotlight on Women in Tech: Challenges and What Needs to Change

Spotlight on Women in Tech: Challenges and What Needs to Change

Tuesday, October 31, 2017/Categories: it-consulting

So far this month we've featured the stories of three women and their experiences working in the male- dominated world of tech. If you haven't already, check out our interviews with Jigyasa Chaturvedi, Leia Shilobod, and Emmy Gengler.

We heard from so many amazing women on this topic, so it's been a struggle to choose which stories to spotlight. So for our final installment in this series, here's a roundup of some of the best comments we received.

Have You Faced Challenges as a Woman in Tech?

"The challenges I face in technology are actually similar to what other women face in traditionally male-dominated industries and roles. You're isolated compared to your peers, and there are fewer of you so it's harder to network, build political capital inside your organization, and to be taken seriously by everyone around you." – Georgene Huang, CEO and cofounder,   (@fairygodboss)

"Entering this field as a woman hasn't necessarily been challenging… However, I'm feeling the struggle more now that I am more established in my career. The glass ceiling is harder to crack once you get to a certain level." – Angeline Vuong, VP of marketing, (@Open_Listings)

"My biggest challenge came from the environment. I went to a startup code camp here in Chicago and it was hyper masculine. It was about hard- edge competing, breaking things, 'grinding,' 'hustling.' Learning the attitude was a distraction from actually learning the skills." – Ava St. Claire, founder, (@MoonRoseAgency)

"I feel there are fewer opportunities and advancements available for women, which is very frustrating. I have also faced many biases. In college, I was told by a professor that I would never graduate with a degree in mathematics or statistics or make it in the field because I was a woman. I not only proved him wrong but won an award on graduation day that was only given to one person out of 1,000! I sat on that stage and accepted the award right in front of that professor who told me I couldn't do it." – Dr. Sonja Ann Jones, CEO and founder of Nonstop 4 the Top

"I had alienating experiences and faced a lot of challenges working in the tech field with so few other women by my side. People acted like I didn't know anything and doubted my abilities, which then made me doubt my own abilities. I also ran into issues with people looking at me as more of a romantic interest instead of a coworker. As a result, I began to doubt their intentions when they asked to work with me. There was also a lot of pressure on not just me, but women in general, that men didn't have. I felt like I was representing all women who wanted to pursue a career in the tech field and if I made a mistake, it would be like letting down the entire gender." – Janice Levenhagen (@jlevenha), founder, (@ChickTechOrg)

What Do You Think Needs to Change to Encourage More Women to Choose Careers in Tech?

"Women need time to think through problems and solutions without the competitive, cut-throat environment. They need to process and collaborate. Many times tech is about being a superstar, a bright shining light, but that casts quite a shadow. More collaboration and the ability to be wrong without judgment of feeling stupid [is what needs to change]." – Emma Moore, owner, (@fundamentalhq)

"I think role-modeling is important for women in tech. So in addition to all the other burdens the few women leaders in tech have, they also have a duty and responsibility to pay it forward to the next generation of women and make what they do more visible and accessible – and even actively mentor the next generation." – Georgene Huang

"The tech field needs to celebrate and encourage what's typically seen as more 'feminine' skills – like communication, collaboration, and empathy – that are necessary for successful tech products. We think of tech as coding and engineering, but it really goes beyond that. It's leading a revolution for how people behave, interact, and transact. And that sounds like a perfect position for women to be in." – Angeline Vuong

"My early days of learning tech reminded me of my days in architecture class. There was too much emphasis placed on coming up with the right answer and how fast you could come up with it. Sound logic = masculinity = right. Imagination = femininity = wrong. In order for us to get more women into the field, we have to welcome diverse thinking. Many women are left to feel like they don't belong because they don't think a certain way or don't have a math background, which is ridiculous. We won't get fresh ideas if everyone is thinking and building the same way." – Ava St. Claire

"I think there are a lot of great initiatives right now in the tech community on a global level like Girls Who Code that are making a dent, but I believe the only significant change will come when computer science becomes required in our education system. I think once boys and girls are both in a classroom learning computer science that competitive ingredient will kick in and things will eventually start to level out. Historically speaking, every industry was once male-dominated and they've all changed drastically. I think tech just needs the time that every other industry had to catch up." – Dasha Moore, owner / COO, (@solodev)

"Women need to go into the community and work with young women from elementary school on. We need to encourage smart geeky girls to use their intelligence. We need to hire female interns, teach them good business practices, and encourage them to use their intuition and nurturing skills to be great leaders." – Penny Garbus, owner, (@SoaringEagleDBA)

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