The 5 Minute Tech Break : Gender Inequality

Hey Everyone

Slight delay to this weeks "5 Minute Tech Break" ... but here we are and hoping that wherever you are in the world, you're having a wonderful weekend.

Having recently joined the CTO Academy team and worked as a women in tech for many years, I wanted to write about and explore in more detail why so few women are (and remain) in tech.

It's always been a frustration to me that this exciting new world of tech, seems to have inherited many of the employment prejudices and barriers from the old economy.

So I wrote my own article this week and during this process, found some interesting articles covering similar issues.

Also included, some big news as a follow up to our recent article on Burnout.   An issue we know many of you suffer from and which is often central to some of the mentoring we provide.

Hope you enjoy ...

Kat Marasigan

Why So Few Women in Tech?

I wrote an article about this subject for the CTO Academy blog.

It was probably the most challenging article I have written and as you might pick up, it was written from a very personal perspective of being a young woman in tech.

When shaping the article, I reflected how i started and how i came to be who i am now in my tech career. 

As much as I do not want to see any career struggles as purely gender-laden, retrospecting on some events made me realise things could have been better if I, myself, and the companies I worked for had acknowledged and dealt with clear gender bias.

Situations which should have been more productive and enjoyable, had the culture at some places been warmer to women.

At the same time, I was reminded of the strong women leaders and male enables, who honed me to become who I am right now.

In "Where Are The Women In Tech", I tackle why there are only a handful of women who make it out alive in tech companies as well as how to remedy these biases in the tech workspace. 

Why Women Leave Their Tech Jobs

Once women land jobs in the tech field, they leave at a 45% higher rate than men, according to this article in Fast Company. 

To find out why, the job site Indeed surveyed 1,000 women in the field, asking about their experiences and how tech companies might retain them.

They identified the underlying discord that’s causing women to rethink their careers.

If you're a tech leader, manager and recruiter, then this article might help you start to understand why.  

It all starts with the application process

One of the laziest recruitment reasons, for those who need (or want) to justify their lack of gender balance, is that not enough women or good quality women applied.

On occasions this might be true but my challenge to anyone who says this, is how hard did you try to find them?  Did you set yourselves a target for balancing the numbers of male/female applicants?  Could you have extended the time period or the advertising campaign?

As part of my research into this topic I found some research undertaken at Stanford as particularly interesting.

It aimed to explain the lack of women in tech and discovered that "men make them unwelcome before they even apply and ... that start ups are worst of all"

Start ups?  

Companies who have an opportunity to start with a blank piece of paper and eschew the traditional barriers and recruit the best, the brightest, the most able ...  if you're in that category, it really is time to change.  

Closing The Pay Scale Gap

Frankly, it's astonishing that any gender pay gaps still exist in 2019.  A job is a job.  Someone is capable of doing that job or they are not.  Why there should be any pay differential for who is doing that job, is beyond me but of course, there is.

In this article, leading UK businesswomen Helena Morrissey suggests that  Many firms will have to 'go backwards to go forwards' to close the gender pay gap.  She explains how the the paycheck gap between men and women has worsened.

Extraordinary that even during an era of much greater D&I awareness, this should be happening.  

What underlying factors continue to drive this lack of parity?

Work Burn Out - Recognised by WHO 

If you're working in tech especially in start-ups, 50-60 hour work weeks are part of the myth of "what's expected". Whether we're chasing deadlines or simply "in the flow" at work, we are not Gods after all and burn out is a real issue for tech leaders, managers and teams.

To those eagle eyed observers of the "5 Minute Tech Break" will recall our recent blog How To Avoid Burnout In Your Tech Team (and In You) where we gave tips and tricks on how to to keep your workplace stress free. 

As a recent follow up to that article, The World Health Organisation (WHO) have declared "Burn Out" an official problem.

Check out Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Disease for more information and in the meantime, consider again the working conditions and expectations around you.

Stay healthy, always!! 


Quote of the Week

“It must become culturally acceptable for men to subjugate their career prospects to allow women to succeed"

-- Peter Mathieson, President Hong Kong University


OK, I'm done.  I've really enjoyed digging into this subject.

Hope you found it interesting and agree with me, we're making progress but lots more to be done around this subject.

For those with an insatiable appetite for all things CTO Academy, you can visit our ever growing archive of '5 minute tech breaks'.

Until next time ... have a wonderful, safe and happy weekend, wherever you are in the world.