Leadership Roles: A Highly Visible Symbol of Equality for Women in Tech

In Dice’s new Equality in Tech Report, 58 percent of technologists who identify as women stated they believe gender-based discrimination occurs frequently or very frequently, compared to 31 percent of men.

Discrimination is also perceived as a factor when it comes to opportunities for career advancement: The study found nearly half (47 percent) of women respondents said they’ve witnessed discrimination in leadership opportunities; some 45 percent had encountered discrimination in the context of promotion, and 32 percent said that discrimination had interfered with project opportunities.

“Women are currently underrepresented in IT as related to overall population. By promoting qualified, capable women, IT has the ability to set the standard for harnessing the talents of knowledge workers and providing paths to success for all employees,” said Krystin Fakalata, regional executive, Dayton, at ARRAY. “As we continue to encourage STEM activities to children, with a special emphasis on young girls, we need to provide them with role models who can provide mentoring and examples of achievement. Kids can’t dream what they can’t see.”

Any discussion related to workplace equality also needs to address the underlying aspect of how technologists care for their families.

“Specifically for women in IT, flexible work schedules would have a major impact on women’s willingness to take on increased responsibilities,” Fakalata added. “All too often, people with small children are hesitant to take positions that have stringent work hours because they know they will have responsibilities related to their children. Because women are traditionally the primary caregivers, this means it is often women who turn down opportunities for advancement.”

For employers, that means a focus on flexible work schedules is key. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are shifting to all-remote or flexible models—but technologists may still need to negotiate with their managers over schedules.

“IT today enables this flexibility and I think in that regard, we already have the tools needed to enable this change. If the pandemic has done nothing else, it’s proven that women—and men—in IT have the ability to work in a non-traditional office setting and still be successful in meeting all of their commitments,” Fakalata said.