Creating Space for Women in Technology

By Women Love Tech
on 22 May 2021

Careen Redman-Matthews is Instaclustr‘s Vice President of the People, heading up the HR department across the business, reports.

The technology sector is a dynamic environment brimming with opportunity. It shapes communities, breaks down barriers and helps us realise goals we never thought possible. It enables people to be placed at the very heart of world-changing events. At least, statistically speaking that is, if you’re a man.

Despite women making up roughly 50% of the world’s population, a recent Access Economics study found that women make up just 27.8 percent of the IT workforce in Australia.

Based on numbers alone, this is discouraging. But unless we identify and acknowledge the reasons for this, we can’t begin to address the problem, and work towards more equitable representation.

Yes, fundamentally there are far less women in technology and this is because, at a basic level, there are less women studying STEM subjects at school and university. But even so, for those that do pursue a STEM focussed career, attrition rates for technology roles are disproportionately higher for women than that of our male counterparts. 

The reasons for this are both simple and complex: lack of representation of female mentors or leaders; inflexible working arrangements; ‘boys’ club mentalities, the list goes on. What we know for sure is that less women enter the industry and the ones that do enter are simply not sticking around. 

In my role at Instaclustr, an open source software company, it is my job to actively find ways to break down these barriers, challenge the status quo and ultimately, create spaces for women to thrive.

This can take many forms, but at its crux, it’s about cultivating a diverse workplace from which we can create “culture adds” rather than “culture fits”. It’s not about simply blending in and accepting things for the way they are, rather creating environments in which people can be their authentic, whole selves. And this isn’t just a “nice to have”. It has real business clout. It improves innovation, ideas and ultimately leads to incredible discoveries and innovation.

By having diversity in the workforce we have an array of strengths, experiences, expertise, beliefs and values which lead to a more robust and rich learning experience for all. Open source software is fundamentally based on these principles. Where people from diverse backgrounds come together to collaborate and work towards a common goal. We want this diversity reflected in our teams, and part of that is gender diversity.

The best part of being a woman in technology today is having the opportunity to inspire other women and support their journey, however I can. Attracting women into technology is a true passion of mine, and I’m fortunate to work for an organisation that shares those same values. For instance, we have started to organise workshops with universities, to reach young, budding male and female technologists and scientists, to encourage them on their journey and prepare them for a challenging but deeply rewarding career. We ensure that our awesome females in tech are visible and on hand to share experiences and inspire at these events.

By being visible, sharing knowledge and being prepared to give back, our main aim is to inspire and empower other women early on to join the sector. We want women to envisage a career path for themselves, get excited about the individuals they could potentially work with and learn from, and become hungry for both the personal and professional growth opportunities that will become available to them on that journey.

We have an incredibly talented and diverse technical team at Instaclustr, filled with truly inspiring females who are building their careers within the business, whilst also being role models for those entering the industry.

My advice for women looking to start a career in technology is to know what you want. Find an environment where you can pursue growth opportunities, whatever that looks like for you, flexible working conditions (should you want these), solid training and mentorship. and position yourself in places where you can observe visible women building their careers in the business. Look to find a mentor and advocate who you trust and use that relationship to find the confidence you need to progress in this flourishing and thriving sector. Be that role model woman you wish was there for you.

About Careen Redman-Matthews

Careen Redman-Matthews

Careen Redman-Matthews is Instaclustr‘s Vice President of the People, heading up the HR department across the business.

Instaclustr is the open source as-a-service company, delivering reliability at scale. We operate an automated, proven and trusted management environment, providing database, analytics, search and messaging. We enable companies to focus on building cutting edge applications, eliminating the need for costly operations teams and technology.

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