From pushing organizations to help women remain in tech rather than just bringing them on board...
...to building support groups among women colleagues...
...to resolutely beating to the sound of your own drum (especially if that means wearing a ton of literal, colorful hats 👒)...
each Umbracian gave us wonderfully diverse tips and perspectives.
And the best part? While all interviewees acknowledge the dismally low numbers of women studying, entering, and remaining in tech, a few of them report not facing - or fearing - gender-based prejudice. Now that's the progress and fierce determination we deserve in the 21st century 💪
Make no bones about it: There is still a big need to increase gender diversity in the tech community 👩💻 And clearly, it's on its way to becoming more inclusive in no small part because of the resilience of women who openly challenge the industry status quo.
Kimberly Blessing, Head of Web Development and QA at Dog Digital in Glasgow, Scotland
"It’s likely that anyone entering any field is going to encounter some difficulties, but for a woman (or any minority-identifying person), to remain for the long term in a field that predominantly favors white male cultural norms requires a wide array of traits: perseverance, patience, grit, determination, self-confidence, and a thick skin. It’s not fair and it’s why we need a more diverse industry -- so that we don’t require everyone to be all of these things, all of the time."
Ayu Laksmita, Back-end Web Developer at Luminary in Bali, Indonesia
"When it comes to increasing gender diversity in tech, support is hugely important - and a lack of support can cause uncertainty for those who are interested in entering the industry. By supporting each other, women can help boost their confidence and make them more comfortable trying new things. Workplaces should strive to provide mentorships and create a women-friendly environment."
Ingrid van Beek, Optimization Lead at Basic Orange in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"The improvement of gender diversity in tech starts with recruitment, plus making both tech innovations and application processes more visible. Show that it is fun to work in the tech industry and open tech events, conferences and meetups to more women speakers and attendees. Don’t let it be limited to one day or week but give it more attention during the year; if you make it important it will become important."
Alice Puricica, Software Engineer at Norlys in Denmark
"Improving gender diversity in tech starts with parents. So, dear parents and future parents: Congratulations, it’s a girl! I hope you will encourage her to be brave rather than compliant, to chase her dreams rather than just encouraging her to start a family. Buy her a remote controlled car, Lego sets, and Arduino board and never say “this toy is for boys.” If no one tells her there’s nothing she can’t do, she’ll believe it! And it’s more likely that she won’t be afraid to join the wonderful world of tech."
Lauren Maguire, Application Development Team Manager in the United Kingdom
"A mutually respectful and inclusive working environment should be led from the top, and if it isn’t, it’s not your responsibility to assimilate into or try to change it single-handedly. You are there because your work is good - keep doing it well and don’t be shy about it. Finding an external mentor in women in tech/networking groups can be supportive - just being able to talk about it helps."