Women in Technology: Gender in the Workplace

Explore the dynamics of gender in the workplace for women in technology. Discover actionable tips to navigate gender dynamics!

Table of Content

    One of the biggest topics around  gender in the workplace is that there is still a wide gender gap in the technology industry, even though there is evidence that companies that hire more female talent perform better in other important ways. Businesses with 30% or more women on their boards have 1.5 times better environmental scores, and four times the R&D investments of companies that have none. More broadly, McKinsey research has consistently found that companies in the top quartile for women on executive teams are more likely to have above-average profitability.

    Manjula Dhupati, Consulting Manager at Velosio has worked in the East and West and has discovered gender bias in both regions. “In the East, bias is very explicit, while in the West, it’s more subtle,” says Manjula. Manjula joined the workforce over 30 years ago in India, working at a factory, and there were no bathrooms for women. Once moving to the West, she was expected to wear scratchy pantyhose in a very strict dress code, while the men had no dress code. While the dress code has mostly changed, Manjula reports that some of the bias is carried over and sometimes self-inflicted. “I recently attended a conference and wore uncomfortable dress shoes the first day because I thought I should,” says Manjula. “I saw the men wearing sneakers and thought, ‘well, I can too,’ so the next day I changed to sneakers, and I was much more comfortable,” continues Manjula. “While the choice of shoes seems like a simple thing, it’s the principle of the matter. Don’t let these extraneous things get in the way of what’s important to you, which is letting your work speak for itself,” says Manjula. “Show your genuine personality and do it your way and people will come around to your ideas,” continues Manjula.

    Devi Mahavir, Client Account Manager at Velosio says, “women have always struggled to have their voice heard. Become an expert and invest in yourself. Take the time to learn about the meeting ahead of time and work hard, and you can have a voice,” continues Devi. “Women need to support women more, and work as a team. When you’re in a meeting with all men plus another woman, introduce the other woman with a presence to give them a voice in the meeting,” adds Devi.

    Manjula likes to talk about approaching meetings with the “Three C’s.” “My ‘three C’s’ philosophy is to be clear, confident, and controlled,” says Manjula. “Look at other’s body language in a meeting and match it with no emotions – just stick to the facts. Project self-confidence and speak clearly,” continues Manjula.

    Addressing Unconscious Gender Bias in the Workplace

    Unconscious bias refers to mental shortcuts that lead to snap judgments—often based on race and gender—about people’s talents or character. Successful tech companies should have a goal to reduce bias in attitudes and behaviors at work, from hiring and promotion decisions to interactions with customers and colleagues.

    “I feel like most of the people I’ve worked with who have unconscious bias or even micro aggression are not being malicious, they are just not well informed,” says Manjula. “They are not trying to be hurtful, and if it’s the first incident, I may just take a deep breath and control my reaction – let it go. If it happens more than once, I’ll call it out and educate them, or even address the whole team so that the behavior doesn’t become an issue,” continues Manjula.

    Devi believes unconscious bias can be addressed through published and known benchmarks for roles and advancement. “Roles should be published in a neutral manner so that both a man and a woman have the same chance, can get the role based on experience, and be paid a salary commensurate with experience, not gender,” adds Devi. Devi has encountered unconscious bias when working with clients who are reticent to work with offshore team members. “We push back with clients, which I’m very proud of,” says Devi. “Companies like Velosio who support their employees will continue to grow,” adds Devi.

    Women Supporting Women

    When the time comes, be sure to promote women. Don’t make assumptions around what a woman’s career might hold or what breaks she may take if kids are in the picture. Be sure you afford the women on your team the same benefit of the doubt you extend to men. Women are given fewer opportunities in this space, so it’s time to throw some opportunities their way and even the odds.

    “Some days we all question ourselves,” says Manjula. “We are just trying to keep our heads above water but lean on your community of women – someone else may be feeling the same way. Give other women tips to help, or reinforce something that they are feeling too,” says Manjula.

    “When we bring diverse backgrounds to meetings and projects, it helps clients overcome their stigmas too,” says Devi. “I think remote work has helped with overcoming stigma. We get to work with people all over the world, and hear about their lives, get personal and build a team. When we can talk about diversity, it makes us feel safe and supported, and when you feel that way, you work harder to build a safe space for others and work harder for your organization which supports diversity,” adds Devi. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

    Encouraging Young Girls to Pursue Technology

    Technology can appear intimidating to women because they are so heavily male-led. Be the bridge for young women and encourage them to pursue STEM fields. Seek out opportunities to speak to young women interested in STEM.

    “I always say it’s important to get involved at the community level to encourage girls to get into tech while they are young,” says Manjula. “Be a role model for these girls. I work with First Robotics as a coach and mentor, which is a mostly male-dominated competition. Make it cool – create awareness for girls. Continue being a role model as a real-life example of a woman in the tech industry. There are all of those ‘girls are bad at math’ memes. Don’t forward those. Let’s end it at the source,” continues Manjula.

    If you’re in tech, man, or woman, find the young women in your family and talk to them about what you do. You may just be the encouragement that they need to get into the field!

    Conclusion

    Velosio, a technology partner specializing in cloud software solutions for SMB and emerging enterprises, promotes diversity and women in technology throughout the organization. Velosio was recognized by Comparably for “Best Culture for Women” and “Best Company for Diversity,” based on feedback from Velosio employees. “I am proud of the culture we’ve built and humbled by the feedback from our team that led to our receiving awards for culture and fairness,” Joe Longo, Velosio president and CEO observes, “Velosio has always prided ourselves on our ability to innovate, understand our clients’ needs and provide guidance. You simply cannot do that successfully without the perspective and expertise that comes from a diverse group of individuals aligned around common goals,” adds Longo.

     

    Interested in joining our proudly diverse team? Check out our current job listings here.