A guest blog post by Gillian Tans, CEO of online travel giant, Booking.com and the ultimate #CareerGoals inspiration.
I am a woman, and I am proud to say that I work in technology. But I also recognize that the combination of these two facts puts me in the minority.
According to the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap Report, progress toward gender equality eroded last year. For the first time since 2006, the percentage of women working in most industries shifted “into reverse.” The slide was particularly acute for women in software and tech development.
Technology is a key driver of social and economic change, and around the world, women like me are transforming businesses, industries, and communities. Sadly, our ranks remain a small fraction of the total workforce. Not only do we need more women in the technology sector; we also clearly need to refocus energy on improving gender equality in the global economy.
To address this gender imbalance, it is imperative that organizations create environments that encourage diversity at all levels. Executives must strive to build businesses that women actually want to work for, which means, first and foremost, implementing non-discriminatory hiring policies.
But it also means creating a flat structure and fostering a culture of care and confidence in which women can excel, where ideas can come from anywhere and are valued. Unfortunately, too few companies focus on this area
There is a misperception among job seekers that opportunities for women in tech exist only for those with coding or engineering experience. To be sure, technology firms do need women with these skills, but they also need women with expertise in other areas, like marketing and finance.
One of the comments I hear most frequently from women who are reluctant to enter the tech sector is that the industry lacks visible role models. As a female tech leader, one of my responsibilities is to share my story and to support, empower and inspire others, and to ensure that talented women regard the industry as an attractive option.
Great strides are being made to close the tech sector’s gender gap, but, as with many other industries, parity remains a long way off. Leaders from across the sector must come together to champion and promote inclusivity. Only when we do will our organizations be able to attract and retain top female talent, a trend that will benefit both boardrooms and bottom lines.