Breaking the Cycle: Calling for Gender Equality in the Tech Industry

Despite making up 47% of the U.S. workforce, women only account for 28% of tech leadership positions. It’s a steady cycle of underrepresentation feeding antiquated tech company cultures and preventing women from entering and climbing in the industry.

Katy Fallon
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Despite making up 47% of the U.S. workforce, women only account for 28% of tech leadership positions. It’s a trend spanning across the industry and affecting all levels of employment. With the majority of leadership positions held by men, “bro culture” persists across tech companies and women continue to report their gender as a barrier for promotion. It’s a steady cycle of underrepresentation feeding antiquated tech company cultures and preventing women from entering and climbing in the industry. 

The good news is efforts to boost gender equality in the workplace are rising in tech companies, Inato included. Inato’s HR Business Partner, Ségolène Philipon, has been working to increase gender representation company-wide. She asserted that what the tech industry considers female representation wasn’t in alignment with Inato’s values. “The market standard is when you have 10% women in a tech company,” she said. “You’re supposed to be happy with that, but that’s really not our standard.” Philipon said that more companies are striving to hire women, but not all offer the safe and diverse work culture that is crucial to female employees thriving. “We want every woman that joins to feel excited about our numbers and our gender policies,” she said.

This past year, Philipon set out to ensure Inato’s hiring practices reflected their values of representation. And she succeeded. With a focused recruiting strategy, the percentage of women at Inato increased from 43.5% in 2021 to 60% today. This includes a 10% increase in the number of women on the tech team. Philipon’s approach prioritized transparency, emphasizing that her recruitment process was free of gender bias. Her method ensured candidates understood where they stood throughout the entire process of interviewing so that any woman hired knew it was as a result of her capabilities. “You always have this feeling when you are a woman that someone can play on your gender,” she said. A transparent hiring process removes that feeling for candidates. 

To help meet her goal, Philipon found a partner with the same mission. 50inTech is dedicated to connecting women with tech companies to work towards a future workforce that is 50% women.  50inTech matches women to tech jobs using their job board as well as a series of networking and mentoring opportunities. 50inTech also has a scoring system to guarantee transparency and guide companies in practicing gender inclusivity. Their Gender Score is calculated based on “Work-life balance, Equal Pay, Fair Career Path and DE&I actions”.  Inato received a high score of 75 with their Gender Score movement.. 

The 50inTech partnership allowed Inato to attract more women, but any recruiting efforts are in vain if the company culture doesn’t celebrate women’s contributions and capabilities. 

For Inato engineer Laure Retru-Chavastel, it’s that type of atmosphere that has been so valuable throughout her career. “At Inato, my gender does not matter and does not cause me issues. I’m an engineer in a team of engineers. That’s it,” she said. Gender equity in tech is a meaningful topic for Retru-Chavastel and it’s important for her that Inato shares those values. “I’m proud to be in a company that cares and takes action to improve its diversity,” she said. 

However, pushing workplaces to value gender equality isn’t going to fix the issue alone. Retru-Chavastel emphasized that a true change in the tech industry is going to come from how we encourage young women to view the field. “They think that they don’t belong to this industry, or that they won’t be good enough,” she said. At the time that she was deciding to become an engineer, Retru-Chavastel didn’t have many women in the industry to look up to, but thinks it could be the key to changing how we perceive the industry as a whole. “Having role models could help and cut out those wrong assumptions,” she explained. To provide women with female leaders and change how they feel about joining the tech industry, companies must revisit the troubling numbers of women in tech leadership positions.

This conversation leads back to a difficult cycle. The tech industry needs more women, but isn’t likely to attract the necessary numbers without more representation. Right now, efforts to promote women can end that cycle and emerging research indicates doing so is a no brainer. Researchers have found that companies with women in leadership positions report higher quality customer experiences, more social responsibility, and are more profitable. Companies with more women in leadership are also more likely to promote innovation. In short, hiring and promoting more women won’t just benefit the new hires, but the tech industry at large. Change is on the horizon and, for Inato, it’s just the beginning for true gender equality. As Philipon said, “We are determined to act for parity and we are moving in the right direction.”

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