As a female working in the ICT Industry, it is nothing unusual to be the only female in most meetings and projects. This is no surprise as in 2023 (Q3), only 21% of the total workforce (full-time equivalents) of the ICT sector in Switzerland was female (Federal Statistics Office Switzerland, 2023). While the gender gap persists, initiatives aimed at encouraging women to enter and stay in tech are growing. These initiatives aim at building an inclusive and diverse industry where women can thrive.
One of these female led organisations is Girls in Tech, a non-profit organisation with local chapters all around the world. Girls in Tech has the mission to build an inclusive and diverse tech community by empowering women across industries and inspiring them through learning and networking opportunities. To achieve this, they work in three main areas to build a strong community. First of all, they organise in-person events to foster learning and networking opportunities. Secondly, they make role models visible by highlighting women who did something remarkable for the industry in their blog. And lastly, they are raising awareness about the lack of diversity in tech by public speaking and creating social media content.
Bringing more diversity into the ICT sector cannot be solely done by women. It is crucial to build allyship in order to achieve the mission’s goals. Most female led initiatives also welcome men; however, they are often absent. A frequent feedback is that they are not sure if they should participate in these events or sessions at conferences evolving around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) as the general perceived stigma is that DE&I is a topic for women. A cause for this could be that, for example, panels evolving around DE&I are often filled with women. Men are not represented.
Representation matters both in this case but also when it comes to female role models in the industry. Seeing someone who is alike, one will be more likely to follow their path. E.g., female role models can facilitate attracting more women into the industry. The same holds for (male) allies. If a male ally is represented on a panel evolving around DE&I, other men might be more likely to start talking about the topic and raising awareness too.
Want to help change the tech industry? Here’s what you can do, starting today: share your story to facilitate the conversation, create awareness, and to become a role model. You can also create allyship by finding/recruiting allies around you or becoming an ally yourself.
Become a member of Girls in Tech here.
About the author
Ursina Boos is a Sales Engineer at Esri Switzerland and enables organisations to solve business requirements by using location intelligence. She is passionate about creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable tech industry. She is actively involved in a mission to eliminate the gender gap in tech by volunteering as Head of Events Zurich at Girls in Tech.