This article is part of a series analysing the current status of women in STEM and how can organisations attract and retain more female talent. This week, our guest contributor discusses what women expect from their workplace and the first step to design an attractive environment for women to thrive in tech.

By guest contributor, Beatrice Ruiz, Assistant VP, Global D&I and belonging program manager, State Street Founder of #InspirationCafe (DEI & L&D)

A few days ago, we kicked off this series of articles about Women in Technology by laying the foundations and looking at the main facts and challenges

The root cause of women scarcity in tech

We learned that the environment and the society we grow up in, have a tremendous impact on how we face our future. This applies to every human being; however, as women, these views, social rules, circumstances translate into a bigger lack of confidence down the road.

“Women might disproportionately avoid scientific pursuits because their self-views lead them to mischaracterize how well they are objectively doing on any given scientific task.” 

McKinsey report, February 2021

Some may think that, since a big part of the lack of women in tech seems to be due to their lack of confidence in their abilities, there’s not much they can do about it. That is far from being true. The reality is there is a lot everyone can do, and we have been doing it for a long time. We just need to keep doing it at increasing speed. 

“The pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation, with up to 25 percent more workers than previously estimated potentially needing to switch occupations”

McKinsey report, February 2021

While not everyone may see this as good news, I do, especially for us, women. As I shared here, women have learned to multitask, flex, and take care of others since a very young age. This paired with societal expectations, give us, nowadays, a competitive advantage and the confidence boost that, some more than others, might need. 

From a company perspective, there’s so much value you can add to this momentum to attract, engage, and retain women in tech. In the next few weeks, we will explore each phase in-depth. 

Let’s begin with step 1: How can you attract women to STEM and tech roles within your organization?

We know that 8 out of 10 women perceive they have:

  • Fewer networking opportunities, 
  • Less exposure to senior leaders, 
  • Lack of role models, 
  • Fewer opportunities to grow, 
  • And lack of help from other women.

A company that looks into these perceptions for what they are will succeed in attracting the best women in tech. 

What is the true nature of these perceptions?

These perceptions are requests. 8 out of 10 women ask for more opportunities to network, more exposure to senior leaders, more role models, more opportunities to grow, a strong female support net. 

Consider creating a female-focused mentoring program within your organization, offering strong sponsors to give new female joiners visibility, etc. 

These initiatives will only work for your organization’s benefit. Soon enough, you’ll be attracting the many women who would work in technology in a heartbeat if they knew they’d get your support to move their careers forward and balance their lives.  

The future of work is here to stay.

Work is no longer just about productivity. It is about physical proximity, closeness to our coworkers and clients. It is about lean, agile, flexible organizations with a high human component. Reaching a perfect, living balance between technology and humanity, and it is here where, with the right support, women shine and thrive.

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