Gender disparity is a topic most companies know they have to discuss but are too scared or lazy to initiate a conversation. It’s no big news that less than 1 in 5 employees in the high-tech industry are women, but the question is why? As part of this beloved industry we’ve heard it all, with some of the major concerns being:
- Women are afraid to go into a male-dominated industry
- Talented women leave the industry because at often times their voices are not heard
- Women are seen as less competent for STEM jobs
- Lack of engagement and opportunities for young girls to join the field
I’m part of that minority group. I’m a woman, but most importantly I’m a Latina woman. Have I faced discrimination in my lifetime? Of course I’ve had. Has that stopped me from getting out of my comfort zone and achieving all of my goals and dreams? Never. Working in Human Resources first hand in a tech company I’ve come across many women who apply for our technical positions, and if I could sit them all and tell them one thing it would be to never stop being curious. Curiosity drives you, inspires you and always sets you up for success. As tech companies and leaders of tech teams, we need to empower and provide opportunities for those that are curious.
How Teams and Companies Can Be Proactive in Hiring Female Developers
If you’re looking to hire female devs or females in the STEM field in general, here are some great platforms to get started:
At Admios, we currently have a team of 63 employees (8 women included), out of which 55 are software developers. Out of the 55 developers, 4 are women, which is a number we’re trying to increment through our approach to gender diversity in recruitment policies.
Women Offer Different Perspectives
Women at Admios have provided different perspectives to the team. These perspectives come from the unique challenges women often face in the workforce that end up shaping not only them as human beings but also the skill set they bring to the table. After all, men and women's brains are wired differently. These differences in communication style, emotional IQ, task orientation, attention to detail, and logic are critical to create well-rounded teams. A gender diversified team means less mistakes, reduced risks and more productivity, broader innovation. Admios has always been a firm believer in gender equality to promote women in tech which benefits our clients just as much as our internal staff and culture.
Some Initiatives You Can Implement to Attract More Women
In 2020, we launched a Develop[HER] webinar series focused on empowering tech women that are looking to grow and develop as programmers. Our first series consisted of seven episodes (usually two per month) and was led by one of our amazing developers, Juliette Chevalier. This specific series brought us closer to the community and after it wrapped up had nine women contact us directly with interest to learn programming and looking where to start.
You can work with your HR or People Operations team to create something similar. The series consisted of the following topics:
- Episode 1: Q&A with Juliette Chevalier
- Episode 2: API's and Codeless Hacks
- Episode 3: Intro the Web + HTML 101
- Episode 4: Web Design + CSS
- Episode 5: CSS Layouts and Grid
- Episode 6: Intro to JS
- Episode 7: Web Animations with JS
Here are 5 steps to create a Develop[HER] content series today:
- Ask the community you’ve built what they want to learn. This will give you a clear idea on the topics of interest and a path on where to start. (You can do an Instagram poll or whatever specific channel your company uses.)
- Brainstorm content ideas with colleagues In our case the series main target was women who didn’t know programming and wanted to know where to start. This gave us a clear direction on how to organize the main topics for the series. We decided to go with JS as this is the most common programming language and the one most of our audience showed interest in. Always include a ‘Questions’ section at the end of each episode to get involved with your audience.
- Sponsor the event on different social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or MeetUp channels to get more audience.
- Choose your distribution outlet and post. In our case it was YouTube. Be very clear on what the video is about as this will create further engagement.
- Create a contact form (call to action) for further communicate and to get in touch with your audience. You can use this form to create an email list for future targeted email distribution on the current and future series. This also gives your audience an opportunity to keep on interacting with you should they have any additional questions.
Create Policies and Standards and Stick to Them
Admios offers equal opportunities to grow and develop in your career path. One of the main benefits we have is our MIT (Manager in Training) Program. It is very important to us to have conversations about career development and give all our employees the tools they need in order to achieve their goals. All of our employees also go through our Developer Progression Program that combines Admios goals with the technologies our clients need. We want to provide guidance and help our developers focus their career progress, both for their own improvement and their advancement at Admios.
Our Developer Progression program consists on:
- Initial Evaluation: Employees fill a form, and then we have a meeting to trace out our path forward, establishing goals.
- 3-Month Check: We have a quick checkup to see how things are going and how they’re doing with their goals.
- Yearly Check: We review their goals and tasks for completion. Employees should have completed their goals to be considered for salary increases beyond inflation, and career advancement.
Admios firmly believes in equal pay. Gender or race are not even factors when it comes to giving someone a salary they’re content with and that matches their own skills and experience. Our pay scale is defined specifically by developer levels.
Maternity and paternity leave policies (the latter includes more days than the established by the legal entities). These policies extend to employees that adopt children.
Our company has an approach to promoting access to quality health services that meet the specific needs of women employees (we offer top-class health insurance that covers many women benefits).
New Initiatives at Admios
By no means we think this is enough, we’re just starting and firmly believe that constant learning, education and research on this topic is necessary so that we can make ourselves more present in this movement. Building a diverse and inclusive workforce both on gender and race is not something a company can do overnight.
In 2021 we decided to join an initiative called “IPG - Iniciativa de Paridad de Género, Panama” led by the Interamerican Development Bank. Through this initiative we want to help reduce the barriers that prevent women from accessing equal opportunities, especially in this male dominated industry not only in Panama but all through Latin America.
One way we intend to build gender and racial equity in our tech teams is by creating a web development internship program specifically targeted for women and minority groups in the STEM field. This program will give the opportunity to one or two interns every year (starting hopefully in 2022) to receive individualized mentorship and code reviews from web developers. We’re also looking to create partnerships with coding schools all around LATAM to keep on fostering the learning and growing environment for women and minorities as well.
Another wonderful initiative I’ve come across was to join both the Elpha and 50inTech communities. From both communities I’ve learned so much, read stories about inspiring women and listened to a wide variety of podcasts regarding inclusion. Both are great forums to engage with a community of like-minded people to share ideas, ask questions, find inspiration and collaborate to achieve more inclusivity in tech.
If you're looking to increase gender or racial diversity in your company, get in touch and we can discuss how we can help.