If you start scrolling through your LinkedIn right now, the words diversity and inclusivity will be hard to miss. But despite these conversations, there is a glaring lack of diversity in the tech industry, especially in leadership positions.
So, what can be done to bridge the gap?
According to Jennifer Ives, ”ensuring girls and non-binary students have access to special, wonderful memories at a young age when it comes to engineering and coding” is one of the solutions.
Jennifer is a globally respected commercial growth executive with a background in geospatial engineering. She's also a board member of Boolean Girl, whose mission is to introduce more girls and non-binary students to the world of engineering and coding.
How to encourage young people to not be held by their gender?
“I'm very interested in making sure that we give confidence and creativity and a love of coding and engineering room to grow at a very young age.”
Jennifer believes that the 3rd-8th grade period is extremely important for people. So making sure that they are introduced to coding and engineering during those years in a warm and nurturing environment is something that could help remove the stigma that technology is hard.
“Even if girls and non-binary students are self selecting out of some of those fields, people could find organizations that put them in front of various types of learning opportunities when it comes to technology.”
According to Jennifer, this builds a confidence in women and non-binary people. So she suggests keeping an eye out for girls, in particular, at a young age, and make sure that we're exposing them to engineering.
What can you do as leaders to ensure diversity?
“Research shows that with diverse boards, diverse leadership, you'll get a stronger return on your investment. So when you're looking to diversify, make sure that you have a diverse pool of candidates and team members. If you don't see that, that is extremely telling.”
Jennifer says that if you're a leader in a company, you can be doing lots of things like making sure that you have programs specifically for people with different backgrounds, different genders, different races and different sexual orientations.
There are different groups that you can create within your company to make sure that everyone feels included and everyone is aware of the different steps that they can take to reach those leadership positions.
Jennifer’s closing argument speaks directly to women though:
“Own your career as a woman. Make decisions. Don't be afraid to say yes. Really think through where you want to be in two to three to five to ten years and make decisions that are good for that trajectory. But don't be afraid to say yes.”
Listen to the full podcast here.