Women in tech: The sexist culture blocking their progression

by |

Although women making headway into the industry is positive, Amy Nguyen, a student and writer for Medium.com, stated that an onerous burden is placed on women in the tech industry to be “perfect”. Nguyen argued that while men are accepted as having strengths and weaknesses, women are expected to either excel in every aspect, or are considered worthless. “Being expected to be either a “perfect super-human” or a “girl who can’t code” puts a huge amount of pressure on women,” she stated.

Cross agreed with the sentiment. “I think there’s certainly a pressure on women to compete with their male counterparts in an industry that has history of over-supporting the male doctrine. There will always be good and bad resources.”

One path to improving the position of women in the tech industry that Cross sees actually involves moving away from highlighting the gender issue when talking about diversity.

“A lot of talk about workplace diversity has moved away from purely being about gender and has started to look at diversity of thought and people’s backgrounds,” he explained. “Look at the background, look at their whole career, their whole personality-type and what their career has given them, and then look at the experience that you get as a combined team.”

However, despite HR’s critical role in conquering this problem, Cross believes the solution lies in much broader initiatives.

“It is bigger than HR. It has to be an inbuilt element of a business’s culture that supports equal opportunity and balance for both gender bases,” he stated. “We need to encourage more females to come into the industry and if they are being scared off by this male dominated hype then that is a problem for us … until we have more candidates to choose from and employers have the capacity to assess ’best person for the job’ as opposed to ‘best male, best female’ then we are never going to change the majority feel of what this industry is about.”

Are there other industries where you see sexism as being rampant? Are you part of a tech company who is taking initiatives to increase its female workforce?

 


read more > 1 2

  • Patti Pokorchak on 2013-08-21 7:48:44 AM

    This has got to be the worst misleading headline I've read in ages!!

    Having been a female tech pioneer (since 1971), I"ve never believed in sexism and I've worked in Germany in the 80s when discrimination was rampant. It didn't stop me from rising to the top in only 3 years.

    IMHO the glass ceiling only exists when it's an excuse for not succeeding. Women can go as high up the corporate ladder as they want- maybe they don't want to go as high as running the company. It's their choice.

    As for sexism, you only need to look at auto shows to know that tech shows are pretty mild in comparison. Sex always will sell stuff, no matter what.

  • Anne-Marie Harris on 2013-08-21 9:03:04 AM

    Oh please - just because you had a positive experience doesn't mean sexism doesn't exist! This is the same BS as when people say racism is over in the US because they have a black president.

    Sexism is real. It affects hundreds of thousands of people who don't have the advantages and tools you had. Instead of pretending it's all a lie, try using your position to facilitate change.

    Also, just being "better than x" isn't something to aim for. That mentality gets industries and companies stuck in anti-innovation ruts.

  • Patti Pokorchak on 2013-08-21 9:32:58 AM

    I've had positive experiences in about 15 countries where I"ve worked. And I've also had some shocking discriminatory events happen, but that is such a small % of my work experience, that I refuse to dwell on that.

    I always felt that the advantages of being female in a male world outweighed the disadvantages. Men suffer discrimination too; we all have something to bear. I don't think anyone is immune from discrimination.

    If you continue to focus on why you can't do something, then you've lost the opportunity to do something instead. Your choice. I choose to work hard and find the good in every situation. It's there, you only have to look for it instead of looking for excuses.

HRM Online forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions