How Do We Get More Women in Tech?
The number of people employed on full-time basis in the Postal and Telecommunications sector declined by 9.9% to reach 6,178 in 2017 from 6193 employees’ recorder in 2016, Potraz report shows.
Female employees constituted 31.5% of workforce, a marginal increase from 29.9% recorded in 2010.
Regardless of efforts to ensure gender balance through among others, implementation of government policies, labor policies and developmental goals that encourage the inclusion of women in all sectors of the economy, women all over the world are still marginalized, Zimbabwe is no exception.
To get more Women in the Technology sector, there are a lot of aspects to be considered, here are some of the facts we think can be helpful to end this discrimination in academia and elsewhere in the society.
- Look for actual talent, if companies do take the time to evaluate some of the people they work with or who apply to work with them, they will find gems of women waiting in line. It’s counter-productive to place an unqualified person in a position just to look inclusive, get people, who actually studied that area they’re in.
- Deliberately, create an employee ratio of even as much as 50-50 to ensure women have the same access to opportunities as men. More and more ads that say ‘Female applicants welcome’ and that crap needs to end because sometimes the selecting panel is already biased and looking for men. That statement may just be put to look inclusive when actually not
- Open up the Boys’ Club, rather, destroy it! It limits women and keeps the good stuff amongst the men. Or maybe women need to create a Girls’ Club, where they share advice and opportunities amongst themselves in the tech sector. It just seems like having camps doesn’t do anything for anyone, because it just widens the gender divide in any sector. Come together, collaborate, include everyone.
- Get training, if you already work with women in your tech company and you see that women are mostly holding back, as a team leader/boss/supervisor, it’s your duty to identify what areas they’re good at, or where they could be good at, and encourage them to do more of it. You might be surprised! Assist them with training opportunities to improve their skills if need be.
- End the stereotypes, I’ve seen even the most educated men say bad things about a woman’s place in the workplace. Stop it! If you have the same role, how is she beneath you? She’s not responsible for making your coffee or keeping the workplace kitchen clean. The negative attitude towards women in tech has to stop. If you can do it, she can do it too, maybe even better. Include women in your class.
- Start them young, the education system in Zimbabwe needs to stop unconsciously dividing the boys into ICT classes and the girls into home economics classes. It is the role of the system to identify what students are good at, and encourage them to take up what classes they should take up.
- If a girl wants to study computer science, let her do it! If a woman wants to be part of the technical team that goes out in the field to fix stuff, she should go! If she wants it, she should have it. She doesn’t need the permission of a man to do what she wants. Not in these times.
“Increasing women’s involvement input and access to Science and Technology is essential to reducing poverty, creating job opportunities, increasing agricultural and industrial productivity.” (Butler. J 2015)