Catch up on our latest edition of Kaizo Live, where Director Steph Macleod discussed the criticality of championing women in technology with Vanessa Vallely OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen. Vanessa spent 25 years in financial services before launching wearethecity.com as a vehicle to help women progress in their careers. With over 120,000 members, the organisation provides resources, job opportunities, conferences and awards to women.
WeAreTechWomen focuses on women in tech and its recent report, in partnership with Ipsos MORI and the Tech Talent Charter, revealed that just 21% of tech workers are female, whilst one in five women are considering leaving the industry. During the stream, Steph and Vanessa discussed the current challenges faced by women in the industry and how WeAreTechWomen’s initiatives contribute to the inclusion and promotion of women in tech. See the key discussion points below and watch for more insights:
What are the biggest challenges faced by women in the tech industry?
- Outdated hierarchies – In light of the report, Vanessa noted that the issues women facing in tech today remain the same as they did 20 years ago, making it incredibly difficult for women to progress within companies.
- Internal mobility – Many women surveyed reported experiencing a lack of transparency from organisations when it came to internal opportunities, adding that most progressions result from “who you know”, which can be especially challenging in a male-dominated industry.
- Absence of female role models – Not only is it difficult to accelerate one’s career as a woman in tech, but it is also even more difficult to get in touch with those in leadership positions.
- Male allyship – Considering most senior leaders in tech are male, Vanessa highlighted the importance of male allyship in accelerating their female colleagues’ careers. Men opening up their networks to women and making space for women at the decision-making table leads to progress.
- The gender pay gap – The report revealed a key driver for women wanting to leave the industry revolves around salaries, especially in comparison to their male counterparts.
What can the tech sector learn from the financial sector?
For Vanessa, the financial sector should learn from the tech sector, rather than the other way around. Tech is what drives businesses forward, and if there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, it’s the importance of digitalisation. This has enabled and accelerated the transition into a more virtually connected world, that would have otherwise taken years to complete.
One Tech World provides women in tech with support, resources and networking tools to succeed in the industry, with speaker slots from top leaders across the metaverse, fintech, AI, crypto and more. This year’s event will take place virtually on Thursday 27th April and will bring together 1,600 women in tech from all over the world to discuss various topics, ranging from technical talks to career progression. The event consists of 60 sessions with over 85 speakers from DeepMind, The Sunday Times, Barclays, McKinsey and more, who will come together to share their experiences and expertise. This event will be especially helpful for those looking to retain and advance women in the industry.
Additionally, the WeAreTech Festival will take place in Bishopsgate, London, on Friday 16th June, with virtual ticket options. It will bring together 450 women to discuss career progression and tackle negotiation skills.
The Level Up summit will also take place later this year, details to be confirmed, with 200 senior male leaders listening to the barriers facing women and how to crucially move towards better inclusion and intersectionality in their organisations.
Watch the full episode here, hosted by Kaizo Director Steph Macleod. Browse our previous episodes here.