Why are programs for Women in Tech important?
Recently, I interviewed around 30 women in tech and I discovered that, although gender equality is improving, a lot of these women are still facing difficulties as it comes to being promoted, getting their ideas across, being heard or negotiating their salary.
Tech mostly is still a men's world and women need certain skills and strategies to maintain their position and obtain the influence they want.
Throughout my career, I have had to face situations when individuals, mostly with good intentions, would make it clear what was expected of me for being a woman. Was it difficult to resist? Yes! I remember one of my first meetings when I had just started a new position as senior consultant in a company. I was the only woman in a group of 6 men. At the start of the meeting I got the request: "Marianne, can you please take notes?" I felt very pressured, but took a deep breath and said: "No, I prefer not to." Oh... I felt bad and uncomfortable for the rest of the meeting.
Later on I learned an important thing that made it much easier to handle these situations, I learned not to feel bad or guilty about it. How did I achieve that? I began to look at each situation, apply common sense, and most of the time I would not see any reason why I should accept those tasks more so than men did. It made is easier for me to say no.
During my professional career, I have learned how to address these situations better and better. As I developed my professional background as a career coach and trainer in soft skills, I became good at it. I negotiated my salary and secondary work conditions firmly. I made my career ambitions clear for my managers, so they could promote me within the company. I spoke up in a respectful way when I encountered sexist remarks. Like in the situation when the Managing Director of the company told me that the way I appeared in our Newsletter "was rather sexy".I respectfully answered: "I appear on this picture, and you find it sexy". The rest of the meeting we addressed the project I was leading.
During my latest interviews with women in tech, I have heard comments like: "I have never known how to negotiate for a fair salary." Or: "Although there were possibilities, I have never been good at asking for promotion." A few women told me that "You have to repeat your ideas 3-7 times more than men, before they get picked up." They told me the strategies they used to become more visible, like the networking activities or supporting each other by confirming that the idea that was just agreed on, was already mentioned by a female colleague two weeks previously.
One woman told me: "It's good there already is a lot of support to get more women in tech. But once you are inside, it is necessary to learn how to defend yourself well."
In many cases, women require an extra effort to find their way and make a career in the tech world.
I decided to support these women through my workshops.
· Inspire women to step forward more easily.
· Teach them to deliver excellent presentations.
· Improve their self-confidence.
· Negotiate strongly for their salary.
· Use excellent networking strategies to get promoted earlier.
· Know how to speak up respectfully if they feel treated unfairly.
In my workshops, I help women make themselves more visible and valued and grow within their positions.
If you think this might apply to you, these workshops can help you to be clear on your goals, let yourself be heard and obtain more influence within your organization.