There are so many stories about what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world. Well guess what, it’s even harder in the tech world! While the tech industry tends to take pride in changing the world of work, and often, with a bit of hubris the world as a whole, the technology sector is actually far away from achieving gender equality. Studies have shown that the female employees make up between 26 percent (Microsoft) and 43 percent (Netflix) of the workforce at major tech companies, with the percentage dropping much lower when it comes to actual tech jobs.
“…female employees make up between 26 percent (Microsoft) and 43 percent (Netflix) of the workforce at major tech companies, with the percentage dropping much lower when it comes to actual tech jobs.”
It’s no understatement to say that quite early in their careers, women are indirectly pushed to choose a job that does not require technology orientated skills, or at least of a high level, because it is commonly a path chosen by men. In other words, it is a cultural influence and it needs to change.
Moreover, the lack of gender diversity led to a shortage of female role-models in Tech and Science sectors. This naturally, is not making it easier for women working in tech to feel at home. However, powerful women like Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube's CEO, Susan Wojcicki, Ginni Rometty, IBM's CEO, and few others, are an example that it is still possible to turn things around in the tech world.
An interesting story about this topic is the story of Galit Gan, the Creative Director and a Co-Founder at Whichit. As said in the Story of Whichit, Galit took part in this adventure when she saw the potential of Interactive Content in advertising, but also for her own personal accomplishment. Indeed, entering this sector, as a woman in tech, could potentially enhance her skills, and she felt like it was a good opportunity to gain visibility, entrepreneurial-wise.
The first steps in entrepreneurship
When living in Tel-Aviv, Galit was an architect with a deep lust for design and creation. After graduating from Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, with MRE (Master of Real Estate), she started her own Real Estate company and then became more attracted to the entrepreneurial and management side of business.
At that time, she already knew she had to empower herself to get recognition and be a part of something bigger than her, to contribute and inspire. This personal aspiration is exactly what women wanting to build a career in tech should develop and follow.
She advises that women should take advantage of their uniqueness to rise up the ladder of the very male dominated sector: “prioritising gender diversity in your team not only provides enhanced problem-solving and increased innovation, it also empowers tech-based rolls with ‘feminine’ qualities, as women tend to be better in multitasking, giving attention to details and great team players.”
When Galit was introduced to Whichit by the founder, Jonathan, she quickly saw the opportunity to enhance her creative and management skills, especially in the tech sector. As the start-up won the Sirius Programme by the UK Government, she decided to move as part of the founding team to London, and leave her home in Israel to pursue her career, obviously taking a risk, but also a lot of courage and ambition.
As the Creative Director, Galit had the exciting opportunity to design the SaaS (Software as a service) platform from scratch, taking the initial idea from its concept stage to a complete design with advance user experience and interface, all in three different platforms and interfaces. This challenge requires techy skills and wasn’t something common for a former architect. Therefore, this challenge a pushed her to give the best of her and overcome the apprehension of stepping up.
Using her creative skills, together with her unique personal touch, Galit designed and created the Whichit App for Android, iOS and Web App, that won the ‘App Of The Year EMEA by Facebook’ in 2015 just a few months after its release. The desktop platform, ‘Whichit for Advertisers’ won a ‘Great User Experience’ award in 2017, that helped positioning the company and reassure to Galit, that she’s leading the product to the right direction.
Jumping off the cliff
It is a fact that women are outnumbered in the tech industry, but this doesn’t mean they should feel discouraged or disheartened. On the contrary; it gives the opportunity to break society’s stereotypes of the tech industry and, most importantly, stand out from the crowd. Indeed, many of the tech companies driven by women achieve great success and prove that women deserve a place in tech as much as men do. They should play to their advantage of being ‘different’ and bring themselves as equal within the industry.
Moreover, scientific research shows women in general tend to think differently to men. Gathering as many men and women to work together would consequently prove to be more efficient and productive, thanks to diversity. Galit’s advice is to team up with encouraging and supporting men who believe in gender diversity and equality. Effectively, combining both sets of skills will lead to a great team spirit, and so a great company.
“Women sadly often lack self-confidence. Galit thinks women shouldn’t feel like they are not as good as men, and therefore must not apply for ‘easy jobs’ while knowing deep down they could occupy a higher and more interesting position”.
Women sadly often lack self-confidence. Galit thinks women shouldn’t feel like they are not as good as men, and therefore must not apply for ‘easy jobs’ while knowing deep down they could occupy a higher and more interesting position. As a matter of fact, it is also significantly efficient for a company to have female managers or highly placed women with internal influence in the company, because externally, it helps consumers feel related. It is more representative of their target market. Indeed, you will have a harder time trying to sell products for women with a team formed only of men!
Finally, women often feel like they need to fit in because they’ve learned that the well-known successful women are glamourous and fashionable, and it doesn’t really match the tech world stereotype. Well, believe it or not, the ad-tech company Whichit was first about fashion, but the main message here, is that society needs to increase the awareness about the role model problem. Galit thinks that teaching kids the fundamentals of coding very early in their life and before gender stereotypes, can help to prepare both girls and boys for the jobs of the future.
By allowing women to stand out for themselves, to not be afraid of speaking out and making a difference in the tech world, more of them will be drawn in. The next generation of tech women will be inspired, and things will hopefully evolve.
What do you think? Should more women be encouraged to enter the tech world?