Amplify Our Voices
How to Help Women In Tech
I recently had a conversation with Jesse Wilson about Women in Technology and he said:
My tiny contribution to this effort is to try to amplify their voices: retweeting and stuff.
It hit me very profoundly, at that moment, that we need our co-workers, friends, and family to amplify our voices. We need allies to help carry our message that women are amazing developers, that we should be heard and believed in, and that our contributions to the tech industry are valid and necessary for real innovation.
How To Help
There are many ways you can help amplify voices of Women in Technology. You can use social media, speak up for us at work, advocate for us when we aren’t in the room, and be our champions in your network.
The three major social media tools I use are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. For each of these consider sharing, retweeting, and liking the post we share about Women in Technology to spread the message and to show that you support us.
Start following the women you know as well as influential Women in Technology to find out more about what is happening in that area. Over the last two years I have built two lists that I read everyday on twitter. First is a list of Women in Technology and second is a list of Women in Technology organizations. Feel free to subscribe to these lists or follow the women and organizations in them.
I follow many Women in Technology organizations and post a lot about Women in Technology issues on my code.likeagirl.io facebook page. Consider liking it and following the other organizations as well.
Do you work in technology? Advocate for the women you work with. Help give them a voice in meetings if they aren’t being heard. Watch to see if their statements are getting ignored, this happens… a lot. You may notice that they say something and it is dismissed, then a few minutes later a man says the same thing and it is a great idea. If you see that happening call it out. Amplify their ideas and accomplishments.
Do the presentations and documents you use only have pictures of old white guys in them? Consider updating them to make them more diverse.
Consider the people in the meeting room with you. Make sure the topic of conversation before the meeting starts is inclusive to everyone. That banter is extremely important in us getting accepted into the group. Being accepted into the group is key to being heard and trusted.
Are some people in the room not sitting at the table? Sheryl Sandberg make a great point In her book, Lean In;
“Don’t expect that you’ll get to the corner office by sitting on the sidelines.”
If you see anyone, especially women not sitting at the table invite them to join. Not only will you help their careers, but you will also have a richer more productive conversation.
What is all over the walls and computer screens at work? Is there anything that might degrade women and make them or anyone else feel uncomfortable? Consider anything that suggests strong views regarding specific religions, sexual preference, political leanings, and sexism. If anything of this nature exists remove it, everyone should feel comfortable in the workplace.
When we aren’t in the room do others call us too aggressive, too assertive, too bold, or other traits traditionally perceived as male? Men with those behaviours are seen as strong leaders. Why should it be different for women, stand up for us.
When you see a women you know walk by you at a networking event invite her to join your group. Introduce her to your colleagues, say something nice about her, help her make connections. Chances are she is in the minority in the room. It can be extremely intimidating for a women to walk up to a group of three to five men and introduce herself, especially so if she is an introvert. Just think, how easy would it be for an introverted man to walk up and introduce himself to a group of women. Having a strong network is key to advancing your career. By doing such a simple thing as inviting her into your group and introducing her to your connections, you are helping advance her career.
Consider recommending women you know to the recruiters that reach out to you for new opportunities. If a connection asks you if you know anyone who might be a good fit for their job opening, consider the women you know. Would any of them be a good fit. Consider putting their names forward. Women are often passed over because of unconscious biases toward us, the only way that changes is if we consciously counteract it.
Amplify Our Voices
We are working together to change not one office or even one industry, but the way we think as a society. That means we need everyone to be a part of this. To the men reading this like Jesse Wilson who have the opportunity to amplify our voices, we need you and we need you right now.
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