There has been so much talk about equal representation and diversity in the tech industry due to the gender imbalance. Today, in a bid to boost the numbers of “Women in Tech” we have witnessed a rise in female only boot camps, programs, special scholarships and awards. Clearly, there is a targeted effort to train and recruit more females into the tech industry.
Still, a term like “Women in Tech” suggests that it is awkward to have women in the tech industry. Yet this is not the case; the first set of digital computers were programmed by women. Regardless, what is the point in trying to fight the gender inequality in tech only to create another form of segregation?
Apparently, some women in the tech industry are not a fan of the special attention they get. Maria who took to a blog to vent her disagreement with the status quo wrote this;
My name is Maria. I happily identify as female. I work as an Agile Coach for a tech company in Cambridge, UK. I am not a woman in tech.”
A female Andela aspirant in Nigeria also mentioned how she felt somewhat inadequate when one of the female fellows told her that she stood a greater chance of getting into the program because she was participating in an all-female boot camp. Apparently, to her, the journey to becoming a developer is easier when you are competing with other females, not the males.
The Andela all-female recruitment cycle helped the company meet its company-wide goal of 35 percent women. Yet, should female entrants in the tech industry be encouraged to feel threatened by men albeit unintentionally? Is that the price for gender diversity in the tech space?
The concept of being offered a job in order to reach an organization’s female representation numbers infuriates me. Furthermore, if you’d like to see me cringe, ask me to speak “as a woman.” I am more than a gender; I speak and operate as a successful and accredited business professional, or not at all -- Billy Cina.
Some women in the tech industry have also complained of the poor support they get from other women in their space. According to this report, women in Silicon Valley leave the tech space at a 45% higher rate than men because of the bias that they experience. What then is the point of diversity without inclusivity.
Sadly, women in tech are often just as ruthless and demoralizing as some of our male counterparts --Billy Cina.
This research shows that the perception of diversity and inclusion in the workplace is changing. While the older generation interprets diversity and inclusion in terms of equal opportunity and representation of demographic characteristics such as gender and race in the work force, the younger generation tends to perceive diversity as the individual mix of unique experiences, identities, ideas, and opinions, and inclusion, as a collaborative environment that values open participation from these different individuals.
I stand with the move for "cognitive diversity" by the younger generation; emphasis should be placed on individuals, not groups. Every individual whether male or female deserves a fair shot at a career in tech and should be given a level playing field. While I would love to see more women in the tech industry, maybe we shouldn't push too hard.
Maybe it is time to stop all the targeted efforts aimed at boosting the numbers of women in Tech and allow individuals find their fit naturally.