I recently had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Grace Hooper Convention (#GHC2014). My topic “Leadership Strategies for High Impact Women” resonated with many mid-career women that desire the opportunity to take their next professional step forward yet are unsure on how to maneuver the current landscape.
During my session, we discussed specific techniques to protect your schedule so you can align yourself and your actions to support where you want to go next. We also discussed how to effectively get out of your own way and other key strategies to advocate for your own advancement.
It was refreshing to meet so many wonderful young women and experienced women who are seeking new connections, ideas, and information to move forward in their tech-based careers.
I was also fortunate enough to meet Jenine Beekhuyzen, who I have recently interviewed for the “What Women in STEM do” video series. Over lunch, we discussed with a group of women, the challenges of attracting and retaining women in tech positions. Part of the challenge is compensation; or rather equal compensation to their male counterparts.
The well documented unconscious bias was lurking in the minds of attendees, however; Thursday morning’s male keynote speaker addressed the situation by pulling off the bandage to expose a surprising take on the bias: Women should leave their ability to make equal pay to karma.
There was a lesson for all. For most of us, it confirms that bias exists from the top down and companies are experiencing the results of this as they struggle each day to keep talented, high performing women.
What can women do to help find supportive and inclusive environments?
Find or create alliances and coalitions within companies to help make your desires known. Assess if you are in a company that wants to invest in you on many levels beyond just your paycheck. It is a good place to start to minimize the gaps.
We work daily to keep women in tech careers and an equal playing field is a big piece of the equation!