Want to do better in your technology career? Look for ways to increase your sense of belonging and network by Aarti Sabhaney

Automatic Summary

Underrepresentation of Women in Technology: Decoding the Bias

Hello and greetings from Singapore! I am Aarti Sabani, an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the technology industry. Besides that, I also work as a consultant at a tech company, an academician, and a researcher. My latest paper addresses the underrepresentation of women in engineering and AI sectors. With this article, I aim to break down some startling figures, inspect the underlying issues, and propose potential solutions to enhance women representation in technology.

Underrepresentation Stats: A Stark Reality

Severe underrepresentation of women in tech is evidenced by data shared by leading firms like Deloitte and Accenture. This year, they project a modest 2% rise in women workforce in global technology giants, pegging the total count at just 33%. This is a far cry from the ideal 50-50 sex ratio. Accenture's research showcases another grim reality- merely 25% of tech graduates are women, and sadly, 50% out of these opt-out before reaching the age of 35.

The Unfavourable Work Environment

A careful introspection into this disparity indicates it isn't merely a matter of choice. Several discouraging factors make women feel like failures, pushing them out of the workspace. Adding to the problem, research suggests disasters, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, impact women more than men, with recovery taking significantly longer for the former. This, coupled with the prevalent gender bias and stereotype threats, puts women in a more vulnerable situation, further hindering their representation in technology.

Understanding Stereotype Threat

Stereotype Threat refers to the internalized anxiety women endure due to the masculine environment further impeded by generalized negative stereotypes. For instance, it's the pressure felt by women who believe they are supposed to be weak in mathematics. Such perceived notions affect their performance and engagement at the workplace, fueling disengagement and drop-out rates.

Overcoming the Stressors: Fostering a Sense of Belonging

So, how can we mitigate these stressors and bolster our well-being in the tech industry? The answer lies in enhancing our sense of belonging. Although the upcoming strategies can benefit both genders, they hold particular relevance for women who need to make deliberate efforts to feel connected within masculine environments.

Increasing Women's Sense of Belonging in Tech

  • Look Up: Finding a role model can significantly boost your confidence and belief in your success. It has been observed that merely visualizing a female role model in tech-related advertisements doubled the number of women applicants.
  • Look Around: Building strong connections with mentors, allies, sponsors, and peers can remove distractions and broaden perspectives. Also, a dedicated network can create a circle of supporters making your career journey both fruitful and enjoyable.
  • Charge Forth: Remember, you belong here! Nothing replaces hard work, consistently good performance, and timely delivery.

To further delve into this subject, find a comprehensive list of references at the end of this article. Feel free to reach out to me in case of any queries. Remember, as women in technology, it's time for us to look up, look around, and charge forth! Here's to a tech industry enriched with the vibrant diversity of talented women- let's make it happen!


Please note - references to be added based on the user's further input. For the sake of SEO optimization, relevant keywords will be incorporated within the body, meta descriptions, title tags, and URLs where necessary.

Video Transcription

Hello from Singapore and congratulations to the women who have joined the session and are all set to make a strong impact in the technology industry. I'm Aarti Sabani and I don many hats. I'm a consultant at a technology company. I am an advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion.

I'm also an academician, but most importantly, I'm a geek. I don't code I decode through my personal observations and research. And in today's session, I play the role of a researcher who has written a paper on the underrepresentation of women in engineering and A I. So let's take a look at some of the numbers Deloitte predicts that by this year, global technology companies will witness a 2% increase of women in their workforce and that would take it to a 33% of female representation. Far from the 5050 ratio that we talk about accenture has pointed out that only 25% of tech graduates are women and 50% of women drop out of technology before the age of 35. So let's take a step back and think through what is driving the underrepresentation of women in technology. Is it just a matter of choice or are there certain factors that may discourage women from joining the industry? And why is it that women who do decide to join the industry sometimes feel like failures and drop out of these domains to add to this complexity. Research has also shown that disasters impact women far more than they impact men and a paper around COVID-19 shows that women have been, have taken far longer to to recover from the impact of the global pandemic as compared to men.

So over and above the gender bias and the stereotype threat that women face at the workplace, they've also taken the sharper end of the pandemic experience. How many of you all have felt depleted with additional responsibilities, both at work and at home, you're definitely not alone because research points out that all of us have taken the brunt. So now that we've talked about these challenges, let's talk a little bit around stereotype threat.

What is stereotype threat? It's the anxiety that women experience in masculine environments around their gender. For example, women sometimes feel that they don't develop math and this, this kind of experience actually puts a lot of pressure on them internally and they start questioning their capabilities which hampers and interferes in them, managing the performance on hand and ultimately them feeling disengaged.

So now that we've talked about the problem, what can we do to nurture ourselves against these stressors and increase our sense of? Well, being, I propose that we do this by increasing our sense of belonging in the tech industry. The three ideas that I pro proposed today are important to both genders. However, in masculine environments, given that women often feel less than optimistic about their careers, they need to make deliberate attempts to feel even more connected to people within the industry.

So how can we increase our sense of belonging? The first is look up, I know some of my colleagues on the conference have already covered finding a role model. Finding a role model is extremely important. Research has shown that if you see a role model who has similar qualities, as you, you feel assured about your potential for success in S A conducted a study in Latin America, which was extremely interesting. It showed that just within an advertisement that was meant to attract more coders into the profession, having a female role model actually attracted double the number of women applicants. And that's what that's how reassured they felt by just seeing an image of a woman of a woman within the advertisement. So who are these role models? Not all of them need to be celebrities? They can be people who we meet and interact with on a day to day basis. My role model is within my organization and I've reached out to her to discuss and understand how is she essentially paving her own career path. Her career journey is fascinating and her her behaviors continue to inspire me. The next is look around, look around and connect, connect with mentors, connect with allies with sponsors and with peers.

The uh having a peer can greatly in having a mentor can greatly help remove distractions from one's career path. And in fact, studies have also shown that just connecting with the peer has helped women gain more confidence and broaden their perspective. In fact, a study by trust Radius shows that the second highest barrier that women have cited within the tech industry is lack of mentors allies. As we all know, can help to advocate for women. And sometimes they can carry out very simple interventions. Even in a meeting, sometimes they can just come across and and point out that you may have been interrupted by a male colleague, small supportive gestures such as this can greatly help you to feel more encouraged in your career journey sponsors as we are aware, can help us in professional development and accelerating our career goals and peers and networking.

The importance of networking has again been established by rear in research, which is women who've attended a women only conference have actually had experienced a greater chance of promotion and up to three times more uh possibility of having an a 10% salary increase within five years.

So look around and find your peers and create a strong circle of uh supporters who can not only make add more meaning to your career journey, but also make it more enjoyable and lastly charge forth while our sense of well being and sense of belonging can definitely come from people around us.

We need to remind ourselves that we belong in the tech industry and of course, nothing can replace hard work, performance and delivery. And here are some of the references for more reading material. I'd like to essentially share my email. If you all have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. It's been an absolute honor to be part of this platform that unites women who are talented and motivated and want to make an impact in the technology industry. So now look up, look around and charge for it. Thank you.