The tech space, like every other male gender-dominated industry, has an obvious equality imbalance. This rouses the need for male allies. Men hold the majority of the formal leadership positions in the technology space. Research also shows that businesses profit more from inclusion. The diverse innovation and competitiveness brought by people of other races, gender and other identities are invaluable.
There is a huge need for men to be on board with this. We can only win the fight to involve women with everyone else on board. Men need to be part of the solution to the problem of inequality in the workplace. Another study by the National Centre for Women and Information Technology posited that gender-balanced companies display excellent team dynamics and productivity, better time and money management and make more profit.
Here are a few ways that men can help involve women in the tech industry.
1. Acknowledge privilege
It is first important that men understand the position of privilege they have in the workplace. They also need to acknowledge that there is a huge gender gap in the industry. This concept might be hard to grasp because some do not even agree that there is a privilege. In this context, the privilege men have does not mean that they do not work hard or have challenges. It just means that they have a special advantage granted to them by society.
There is a stereotype within the tech industry that rates men as better programmers or developers. It could also be that women are assumed to be uninterested or under-motivated to grind as much. Once men acknowledge this privilege, it will be easier for them to come from a place of compassion to actively help and support women.
2. Employ women
Breaking the hiring culture is a good place to start. If you are ever in the position to hire in the tech place, you have a role to actively seek women out. This would mean taking proactive steps to attend all-female tech events and professional events to reach suitable female candidates. However, if you are not in a hiring position in your company, you can be of influence by suggesting great female potential hires that you know. It is also important to offer women equal pay as men. They will most likely do as much work, if not more.
3. Stop the harassment
S****l harassment is a problem in every workplace. The #MeToo movement has made it more public to the world how much harassment women deal with. This is a call for men of good conscience in the tech industry to be more supportive of the women. Cut out the sexist jokes, s****l comments and unnecessary body contact. It is also important for male allies to believe the females when they complain of s****l harassment and, more importantly, stand up to their male counterparts. The silence and hush culture are only making things worse.
4. Give credit
Men need to give women credit for their ideas. There is a popular occurrence where women give brilliant ideas and it is met with silence and indifference. A few seconds after, a male colleague says the exact same thing and then everyone suddenly thinks it’s a new, amazing idea. Almost every woman has had this happen to them.
Nicole Gugliucci, an astronomer and physics professor popularised a name for the term. She called it “hepeating” in a series of tweets in 2018. The tweet got over 200,000 approving likes from women who could relate.
This is not new though. Mileva Marić-Einstein never got recognition for most of her work despite all her immense contributions to Albert’s ideas.
It can be very frustrating and annoying, and men are often oblivious to it. Male allies can raise their voices to this and give credit to women for their ideas. They need to not let it slide. Women have devised a way to raise their voices and reemphasise their points to make sure they get credit for their ideas.