Women in Tech

When Will Tech Get Smart Enough to Stop Being 'Men's Work'?

When Will Tech Get Smart Enough to Stop Being 'Men's Work'?
Image credit: GSCSNJ | Flickr

Only men should be plumbers.

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it? But once upon a time, it was completely acceptable to call a male-dominated trade “men’s work.” So what about the tech field? Is this men’s work as well?

Some people use this old-fashioned line of thinking to explain the glaring lack of women in tech. But does the field lack gender diversity because women are incapable of excelling in it? Or are women simply not interested in tech?

The general assumption is that women are naturally inclined to pursue nurturing professions such as nursing and teaching. Men, on the other hand, head toward analytical professions because they are, supposedly, more pragmatic. But I don’t think this is the reason for the gender disparity in tech.

Related: Team 'Ban Bossy' or Not: 3 Reasons Why Hiring Women In Tech Grows Business.

I believe the more likely explanation is rooted in childhood. Girls typically aren’t encouraged to pursue careers in math and science, and they are steered toward other fields. Tech’s lack of gender diversity is a direct result of this.

Organizations should prioritize diversity -- in all forms. From a gender standpoint, companies that have women in leadership positions actually reap greater financial rewards than their male-leadership counterparts.

Additionally, having a homogeneous workforce leads companies to neglect significant portions of their target audience. The more diverse your team, the more unique experiences members will bring to the table. This will undoubtedly lead your business to an increased level of creative innovation. The contributions of women are sorely needed for the tech space to properly grow and create products that are relevant to all types of people.

Related: Richard Branson on Why Diversity Is an Advantage

There are a number of misconceptions that keep women away from the tech world. For starters, it has the reputation of lacking creativity, diversity and flexibility. Here are a few tips that will help you create a more welcoming atmosphere for women:

Don’t overlook women. If you see that a woman has applied for a job, interview her even if she seems unqualified for the position. Interviews can be a great learning opportunity for you as a leader. Ask her why she wants to work for you. Use this as a chance to better understand what attracts women to certain jobs.

Talk to your current female employees. Hold regular meetings with your female employees. Ask them what they like and dislike about their jobs. Do they feel like your company is nurturing an inclusive atmosphere? Be an active listener, but also advise them on how they can provide more value to your organization.

Host or attend an event geared to women. Host a “women in tech” happy hour or seminar at your company as a way to introduce your business to more women. You can also send a company representative to similar events to increase your visibility. Develop the identity of being a female-friendly company.

These solutions will immediately help bring more women into the tech world. And when young girls see more women in the field, they’ll be more likely to gravitate toward it. This is crucial to tech’s long-term health.

A more diverse tech industry will benefit your company and your consumers. Start the process by taking a few simple steps to create a more welcoming atmosphere for women.

Related: The 4 Biggest Myths Discouraging Women From Tech Careers