Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

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Imitation is flattery: I’m also a woman in tech, and this is what I want in a company

I recently read the article, I’m a woman in tech, and this is what I want in a company, and LOVED it. As a woman who has worked in tech for nearly a decade now (yeesh I’m getting old), I agree with all the points raised.

Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I wanted to whip up a list as well. I hope more women continue to speak up about what they want. The more we talk about it, the more likely it’ll be for us to see change.

I want to see other women

I find it quite humorous that in 2017 us ladies still have to state we want to see other women when considering a company. That should be obvious for recruiting top female talent, right? Sadly though, most leadership teams at technology companies are almost all men. Can you imagine what it would be like to go to a leadership page and see it lit up with nothing but strong, smart women? Yeah, neither can I.

I think seeing other women is something all women in tech can agree on. I want to take it one step further though. I not only want to see other women, but also, I want to see women SUPPORTING other women. In my experience, not all women in technology care to advance or support the careers of other women. I want to see women championing for other women. Making stuff happen for one another just like the boys do.

I love to ask—both men and women—in interviews, “When was the last time you helped advance someone else’s career?” The answer shows me how supportive an environment (or person) really is.

I want to be able to act like a woman

“You wear too many bright colors.” That was some ridiculous career feedback I received many moons ago. It’s true. I wear bright colors. And I love flowery prints. (Shhh…don’t tell anyone.) No offense Hillary, but I don’t want to wear pant suits every day. I don’t want to act like a man, either. (Whatever that means…) And I shouldn’t have to in order to be respected or promoted. Women should be able to be themselves at the office without it hurting their career — bright clothing and all.

I want salary transparency

I wish companies would be more transparent about salary. A simple “here is the range…how do you feel about it?” would be revolutionary to see. Most companies overcomplicate the salary negotiation process. They ask for your current salary (I discuss that here). They play games. They beat around the bush. And ultimately, they annoy the crap out of you to the point where you no longer want to see them let alone work for them.

Salary transparency evens the playing field for women. Women often face backlash from negotiating. Researchers discovered that women who negotiated were penalized more than men. Even female interviewers penalized other women who dared to pull off the dreaded N-word. I guess no one appreciates a woman who asks for what she’s worth.

According to Harvard Business Review, “…starting salaries of male MBAs who had recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon were 7.6%, or almost $4,000, higher on average than those of female MBAs from the same program. That’s because most of the women had simply accepted the employer’s initial salary offer; in fact, only 7% had attempted to negotiate. But 57% of their male counterparts — or eight times as many men as women — had asked for more.” By being transparent about salary from the get-go, technology companies help ensure women are no longer held back out of a fear of backlash. It also makes sure women are not stuck to our last salary or to what we think we “should” be paid. We’ll be paid fairly for the responsibilities at hand. And that’s a level of respect we all deserve.

I want to see men advocating for women

I’ve run into some amazing male mentors and advocates throughout my career. I want to see men advancing and advocating for women at the company I’m interviewing with. I’ll even ask the question “When was the last time you advocated for a woman?” in interviews.

The low number of women in technology will never improve without support from men. Simply asking “How can I help?” goes a long way. NCWIT’s recent research “Male Advocates and Allies: Promoting Gender Diversity in Technology Workplaces” offers ten easy ways to be a male advocate (shown below). One male interviewee from the report stated that, “I think it is super important for men to be seen as gender advocates, because…85% of our leaders are men in this company, and if they are not gender advocates, then the culture won’t change — we won’t have the right environment.” How awesome is that?

I want you to believe in me

There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than being tapped on the shoulder for a highly visible and important project. I don’t want to hear that I don’t have “enough experience in X” or I haven’t “done Y” when a new project is up for grabs. Instead I want to hear, “I know you’ll do a great job on this. I trust you.” I want you to believe in me more than I even believe in myself. That’s empowerment. And that’s the kind of stuff that gets me up every morning without even needing an alarm clock.

I want my work recognized

Many times throughout my career, I have been given feedback that I could do a better job at promoting myself. It’s tough feedback to hear. But self-promotion for women is often a catch-22. You don’t want to overshare, or you’re seen as arrogant or unlikable. You don’t want to under share, or there goes your promotion.

Women often feel discomfort and anxiety about self-promotion. Because of this, men do a much better job than we do. In order to overcome this dilemma, leaders need to do a better job of recognizing women’s work. If you see a woman doing an excellent job, share it LOUD AND PROUD with others. Help give credit where credit is due and make others aware of what you’re seeing. I am happiest when my boss or leadership team takes the time to recognize my achievements.

Recruiting talented women in technology isn’t rocket science. With a few simple changes, a healthy pipeline of female talent will be at your fingertips. Believe in us, let us be us, promote us and be transparent with us, and you’ll have no problem recruiting us.