Women Tech Council addresses tech gender gap - and ways to improve it

Women Tech Council wants to address the gender gap in the technology sector and has issued a report outlining ways to close it.

The national organization, based in Utah’s Silicon Slopes area, also released a list of companies it says are “accelerating removing the glass ceiling for women in tech” through programs and cultures to create inclusivity.

The report, titled “The Gender Gap in Tech and How to Fix It,” cites a slew of statistics indicating that firms having women leaders have seen increases in net revenue, women-led private tech companies achieve a 35 percent higher return on investment, and having women on boards or in senior management and other factors have boosted companies’ market share and profitability.

However, women account for only 16 percent of the members of executive teams in the U.S., with the figuring being smaller in the tech industry. “While making up almost half the U.S. workforce, women hold less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs,” it said. Many women leave tech jobs because of poor workplace climates and mistreatment by managers and coworkers, as well as dissatisfaction with pay and promotional opportunities, and only 38 percent of U.S. companies set targets for gender representation, according to the report.

“In order for a company to attract and retain the best talent while driving innovation and bottom-line success, inclusive cultures must be rooted in the organization’s DNA,” said Cydni Tetro, WTC’s president. “By moving beyond single-factored solutions to deeper measures that anchor gender inclusivity firmly into an organization, the practices outlined in this research can help increase the number of women across the technology sector today and ensure that diverse workforces are sustained in the future.”

The report says technology companies can speed the creation of more inclusive and diverse teams and cultures for women in tech through:

  • Executive engagement, in the form of active support from the CEO, executive team and all leadership.
  • Company programming, by having women in executive leadership positions and proactively implementing programs to support women in technology.
  • Community investment, with active participation with the broader community to learn from and share best practices regarding culture and inclusion.
  • Women’s or diversity and inclusion groups, through formal programs to support women internally.

Research reveals that when woven together and implemented simultaneously, those four areas “drive talent retention and high performance,” WTC said.

“Given the presented data and outcomes, WTC recommends that tech companies make cultural inclusivity a priority,” the report concludes. “Gender inclusivity can be more than the exception or an outlier in the tech community. It can and will have to become the standard for any tech company that wants to compete in the industry long term. Tech companies have the amazing opportunity to accelerate gender inclusion and their profits by committing long-term to WTC’s defined metrics.”

The organization also released the first series of best practices from its Diversity & Inclusion Forum that details programs implemented by technology companies to close the gender gap and create more inclusive cultures. It lists Adobe’s policy to support parental leave, Pluralsight’s work to facilitate more-diverse tech hiring, and Workfront’s efforts to close the pay gap.

“Regardless of product or vertical, research shows creating inclusive environments that leverage the talent of diverse teams propels a company’s overall revenue and profitability,” Tetro said. “Identifying and disseminating the practices that are making real impact towards gender inclusion helps accelerate adoption across the technology industry to build a more robust, competitive and diverse community.”

The organization also released its second annual “Shatter List,” highlighting 46 tech companies that are accelerating removing the glass ceiling for women in tech by creating and enacting impactful programs and cultures to create inclusivity. WTC said the list moves beyond hiring or human resource measures and instead “reviews and rates the development and successful implementation of holistic, organization-wide practices to create inclusive cultures where women can contribute and succeed.”

“No matter the size or type of technology company, having high-performance teams where men and women can contribute and succeed drives success at every level of the organization,” Tetro said. “Highlighting and explaining these practices accelerates progress for the entire tech industry by amplifying the programs that are making real strides in creating more gender-inclusive cultures and propelling their impact further to help organizations throughout the tech sector grow closer to breaking the glass ceiling.”

The 2019 Shatter List includes (in alphabetical order) 3M Health Information Systems, Adobe, Ancestry, Chatbooks, Clearlink, Control, Cotopaxi, Dealertrack, Degreed, Dell EMC, Domo, eBay, Expert Voice, ForgeDX, Franklin Covey, Goldman Sachs, Health Catalyst, HealthEquity, HireVue, IM Flash, inContact, InMoment, Instructure, Intermountain Healthcare, L-3 Technologies, Listen Technologies, Lucid Software, MarketStar, MX, Myriad, Northrup Grumman, O.C. Tanner, Oracle, Overstock. Pluralsight, Qualtrics, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, RizePoint, SaltStack, Tesla, Veracity Solutions, Vivint Smart Home, WCF Insurance, Workday, Workfront and Zions Bancorporation.

WTC released the report, best practices and Shatter List on International Women’s Business Day. Details are at www.womentechcouncil.org.

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This article was written by Brice Wallace from The Enterprise and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.