Women in tech: Breaking down barriers, creating culture of inclusion

Old Mutual Group  Systems Engineer, Caroline Yamo. [File, Standard]

The tech industry has been grappling with the issue of gender inequality for decades.

However, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s time to acknowledge that innovation and technology are helping to close the gender gap in tech.

It’s about time we bid farewell to the archaic paternal society that side-lines women in tech, stereotypes them, pays them less, and does not understand a woman’s work-life balance. 

Change is here. Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are revolutionising how we approach gender equality.

These technologies can help us identify and overcome gender bias in hiring practices, product design, or marketing.

For instance, AI can analyse job descriptions to ensure gender-neutral, while ML algorithms can identify patterns of gender bias in resumes and interview feedback. 

AI and machine learning can promote gender equality by analysing job postings to identify gendered language or bias.

These technologies can also help identify patterns of gender bias in performance evaluations and promotions. On the other hand, Chatbots and virtual assistants can provide women with access to information and resources related to health, education, and career opportunities.

Despite significant strides in promoting gender equality, women face many obstacles in the tech industry.

These include the gender pay gap, frustrations in career progression, and an unfriendly work environment. Women often feel unsupported and side-lined, leading to a significant impact on their career progression and well-being. 

However, all hope is not lost! Men can play a crucial role in promoting gender equality in tech by using their positions to create a more inclusive workplace, challenge gender stereotypes, and support their female colleagues.

AI and machine learning can promote gender equality by analysing job postings to identify gendered language or bias. [iStockphoto]

They can mentor and champion women in their organizations, advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ensure their teams are trained in unconscious bias. 

The future of innovation and technology in promoting gender equality is bright. As technology evolves, we expect new tools and platforms to promote inclusivity and diversity.

For example, Virtual Reality (VR) technology can create more inclusive training and education programs, and Blockchain technology can promote transparency and accountability in hiring practices. 

We can also expect to see more initiatives and programs to increase women’s representation in the tech industry. Mentorship and sponsorship programs, for example, can support women in technology and promote their career advancement. 

However, women in the tech industry must also fight for their space and advocate for their rights.

They can build support networks, seek mentors and sponsors, and develop new skills. Women must also be willing to speak up about gender inequality and challenge the status quo. We can create a more inclusive and equitable tech industry by working together. 

Another essential aspect of promoting gender equality in the tech industry is ensuring that women have the same career advancement opportunities as their male counterparts.

This means not only addressing the gender pay gap but also providing women with opportunities to take on leadership roles and participate in decision-making processes.

By promoting gender diversity at all levels of an organisation, we can ensure that women’s voices are heard and that their contributions are valued. 

It’s also important to recognise that promoting gender equality in the tech industry is not just about hiring more women or addressing gender bias in the workplace.

It’s about creating a culture of inclusion and respect that benefits everyone, regardless of gender. This means promoting diversity not just in terms of gender but also in terms of race, ethnicity, and other factors that can impact an individual’s experiences in the workplace. 

As a society, we need to recognize that promoting gender equality in the tech industry is not just the responsibility of individual organisations or the industry. It’s a societal issue that requires a collective effort from all of us.

This means addressing broader issues such as gender stereotypes, unconscious bias, and systemic inequalities.