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Workplace reform needed to encourage women into the tech sector (Includes interview)

To inspire the next generation of girls in tech
To inspire the next generation of girls in tech

Women make up almost half of the total work force, but they only hold 25 percent of the roles in the technology industry. However, the industry as a whole has been moving, albeit slowly, towards gender parity.

Sarah Rich, Vice President, Operations & Customer Success at Supplyframe, tells Digital Journal the her role is customer centric: “My entire career has centered around helping make my customers successful and driving business process improvements. My responsibilities always start with building long-lasting partnerships while effectively challenging the status quo to motivate change.”

To help drive these challenges Rich recounts how changes in the industry with regards to gender representation have helped to move many technology-focused businesses forwards.

For this, being a woman in a technology role has, says Rich, helped her: “Much of what I do day to day is powered by my experience as a woman in a male-dominated field.”

She adds that women can bring a new dynamic to any workplace, especially one that needs to transform: “Breaking molds and effecting progress has been an inherent goal for myself and all women in this evolving field. For companies to survive the thrust of true digital transformation, it’s imperative to have a well-rounded vision that is inclusive of all aspects of the future, both in people and technology resources. I’m thrilled to see more females in leadership roles as I firmly believe that diversity in perspective will be key to creating opportunity while maintaining resiliency.”

A second female employee at the firm, Willa Zheng, who is a Platform Engineer at Supplyframe, explains to Digital Journal how to continue to push boundaries for women in technology.

When asked “How do we close the gender gap?”, Zheng answers thoughtfully: “More career mentoring for women. Encourage women to apply for that promotion, ask for that pay rise. It’s rare to come across a mediocre woman in a successful career. They’ve had to be outstanding in some way to rise to their current position. On the other hand, I see a ton of mediocre men in management positions. The gender gap will be closed when we see mediocre women get promoted as frequently and easily as mediocre men.”

Yet there is more to be done, says Zheng, citing: “Paid parental leave. Maternity and paternity. America is woefully behind the rest of the OECD countries in this respect. In order to close the gender gap, we need to encourage women to stay in the workforce after they have kids, and not have companies (or their male colleagues) resent them for taking maternity leave. We don’t have this problem at SF but I know other women have experienced this issue at work.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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