Foster the people: How the tech community can welcome more women, report by Megan Archbold, PR and Communications Asia Pacific & Japan at CrowdStrike
This last 12 months has been one of substantial change. Technology has enabled progress, not only in streamlining the functions of our lives and how we do our jobs, but also by empowering connection. Social media, for example, has become a tool that doesn’t only bring people together through common interests or make it easier to find a job, it also helps to create meaningful change and amplifies activism efforts all over the world.
While the increasing democratisation of technology is helping to create more access to those that may have otherwise been overlooked, there are still palpable inequalities in the industry. If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that technology can be both a catalyst and enabler of rapid, transformative change – if you are willing to embrace a change in mindset and a shift in behaviour.
For example, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most companies had the capabilities to run their organisations from home, but few actually worked that way out of fear of disrupting the status quo. Now company leaders are seeing comparable, if not better, results from a majority-remote workforce. And even though the shift to working from home didn’t happen by choice, it inevitably opened people’s minds to new ways of working. The technology enabling employees to work from home was always there, but it was the shift in the mindset of business leaders to implement these changes that made the difference.
Similarly, if we’re looking to diversify our industry—we need to look at our current mindset and behaviours and assess what changes need to be made to help us get there.
Women currently make up less than a third (29%) of Australia’s technology workforce. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has seen our industry experience astronomical growth, it has also caused significant workforce disruption, for women especially. Women have experienced devastating impacts due to the pandemic, both professionally and personally. If we want to bring more women into our industry, we need to be willing to change the existing systems and structures that keep them out, whether it’s due to access, bias or lack of role models.
A recent study found that women are more likely to feel empowered to engage with STEM careers if they know a woman holding a position in those industries. As a woman in tech myself, I feel a responsibility to act as a role model for other women considering careers in our field and to encourage and support them as much as I can on their journeys. Making ourselves accessible to young women and existing professionals looking to break into tech is crucial to changing gender perceptions and achieving equality in our field.
I also believe it is more crucial than ever for the technology industry to bring the people behind the tech to the forefront, and this should be a key focus for industry leaders. At CrowdStrike, remote working arrangements and flexible schedules allow employees the space to address their needs and passions outside of work. We also focus on supporting our people in growing their careers, with specific groups dedicated to women, parents, Veterans, and people of colour, with the goal of expanding all of our people’s perspectives through meaningful connections and conversations among those they might not interact with on a daily basis.
Technology helps to make these connections that lead to meaningful change, but we need to be open to using it for that purpose. As enablers of technology, we’re on the cutting-edge of the modern workforce and it’s our responsibility to take the lead on bringing more women into the fold. If we can collectively shift our mindset towards bringing more women into tech, we can reap outstanding benefits for our industry and for society
 ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2020
 Closing the STEM Gap Eco’s Women in Tech Across the Globe: A Good Practice Guide for Companies