Women in Tech: Recognizing Unconscious Bias
Career Development If we are to truly diversify the tech field, we must recognize the obstacle created by biases against women—and that these prevail among both men and women.
I’ve had the opportunity to pursue a long career in tech, thanks to some amazing people encouraging me along the way and my passion for leveraging technology and data to solve tough problems. I’m a true “data nerd.” Unfortunately, my story isn’t as common as it should be—we have more work to do to retain and empower women in tech.
Technology companies often blame the lack of women in tech on women’s desire to raise families or on the insufficient talent pipeline. I believe the root cause is all too often the unconscious biases of men and women.
One example of unconscious bias is how we question more aggressively a woman’s qualifications for new assignments versus encouraging and supporting her in getting new experiences and skills.
"Accept that unconscious biases do exist and put in place policies to protect against biases pushing women out of tech."
This feeds into a woman’s self-belief that if she does not have 100 percent of the qualifications, she should not bother to apply. Men typically don’t have to cross as high a bar for others or themselves.
Conviction and support
I was fortunate that when I had my own moments of self-doubt in my career there were a few strong advocates (female and male) who encouraged me to go the distance and helped me find ways to do this while having a family.
My call to action is for us to accept that unconscious biases do exist, despite our best intentions, and to put in place policies and processes to protect against biases pushing women out of tech. Together, we can consciously create change.
By the numbers
Women make up nearly 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, yet we’re still waiting for the glass ceiling to shatter. Where’s the disconnect?