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The Battle Women Face Building a Career

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Last week we celebrated International Women's Day.

One of the main things I noticed was the openness to share ideas and experiences or recommendations of what other women would or have done. I'd like to share some painful statistics with you...

Key things I learnt:

  • We’re in a world where 259 million fewer women than men have access to the internet, and 75% of jobs will relate to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas by 2050 - source - UN

  • An 18-year-old woman entering the workforce today will not see pay equality in her working lifetime. At the rate the gender pay gap is closing, it will take more than 50 years to reach gender pay parity. - Source - PWC

  • The motherhood penalty is now the most significant driver of the gender pay gap. - Source - PWC

  • Equality and Equity in the context of gender. Equality might be giving everyone the same opportunity. Equity is recognising someone started off at a "disadvantage" and equitable support needs to be given to balance the original injustice. - A lot of articles can be found on the topics with google. - Women in leadership stats Source Zippia

  • Half of the women in tech drop out by the age of 35. The primary reason - Noninclusive company culture - Source CNET for Accenture & GirlsWhoCode Full Report - Accenture Resetting Tech Culture

  • Getting into grassroots NOW is important but at this pace, we won't see equality for another 300 years - Source UN

Advice from Women in Tech Leadership:

  • Our male allies need to use their platform to help and spend their relationship currency- Ted Talk - Carla Harris: How to find the person who can help you get ahead at work | TED Talk

  • You can show strength in walking away, knowing your worth. It’s not worth our mental and emotional well-being to stay for somewhere we aren't appreciated or treated equally.

  • Bias is typically associated with only negative, and not getting a seat at the table. Positive bias is being overlooked. Some women will find they are in demand due to their gender and company diversity requirements. While this gives women a seat, it doesn’t mean they were prepared for that opportunity and may struggle without equitable support. We don’t want to be set up for failure.

  • 20 years ago being a woman in tech or leadership was about surviving, not thriving. Most women are happy to be mentors or have a chat if you ask!

  • Hiring, selection, progression, and retention are 4 different pieces of a lifecycle, but typically companies focus on the first, getting in those CVs, and then it starts to fall down (generalisation, but based on an unofficial poll at the IWD event I was at, is true)

  • You can't control everything, but you can control how you respond and react.

  • Internal policies are one thing but can we help impact change at the government level? It's a systemic barrier to continuing in the workplace.

  • 54,000 women a year lose their job simply for getting pregnant. Source Pregnant then screwed

Some of the areas we can do better

  • When it comes to pregnancy and life/work balance it's down to choice. Women voiced they were finding they were shamed for BOTH taking too much maternity leave, while others were shamed for taking not enough. No shaming, just supporting people's individual choices!

  • Supporting new policies in the workplace but also the changes at a governmental level where you see it and have it shared to garner support.

  • You can all work in STEM. Many colleagues I have/have had don't have a degree in STEM. It’s about the attitude to learn, try and fail and giving people an opportunity to do this with some guard rails. There are some great publications out there posting extremely important information for women developing their careers and the struggles they face. I'd like to highlight a few to share with you:

  • We’re in a world where 259 million fewer women than men have access to the internet, and 75% of jobs will relate to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas by 2050 - Source - International Women's Day | United Nations

  • An 18 year old woman entering the workforce today will not see pay equality in her working lifetime. At the rate the gender pay gap is closing, it will take more than 50 years to reach gender pay parity. - Source - WIW 2023: Closing the Gender Pay Gap for good: A focus on the motherhood penalty (pwc.co.uk)

  • The motherhood penalty is now the most significant driver of the gender pay gap. - Source - (same as above)

  • Equality and Equity in the context of gender. Equality might be giving everyone the same opportunity. Equity is recognising someone started off at a "disadvantage" and equitable support needs to be given to balance the original injustice. - A lot of articles can be found on the topics with a google. - Women in leadership stats Source 25 Women In Leadership Statistics [2023]: Facts On The Gender Gap In Corporate And Political Leadership – Zippia

  • Half of women drop out of tech by age of 35.Primary reason - Noninclusive company culture - Source - Half of young women will leave their tech job by age 35, study finds - CNET

  • Full Report from Accenture - Source - Resetting Tech Culture | Accenture

  • Getting into grassroots NOW is important but at this pace we won't see equality for another 300 years - Source - UN Chief Warns Equality Among the Sexes 300 Years Away (voanews.com)



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