On March 8th, 2023, our teams at Tek Experts celebrated International Women’s Day with employees and tech leaders across the globe at a monthly Stronger Together Webcast hosted by our parent company, YNV Group. The discussion focused on the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, #EmbraceEquity.
To kick things off, we first discussed the importance of International Women’s Day and what it means to Tek Experts and YNV Group.
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a global observance that takes place annually on March 8th. It inspires the celebration of social, economic, historical, and political achievements of women, educates and raises awareness of gender disparities, and encourages positive change to increase opportunities for women and accelerate gender parity.
Why is International Women’s Day Important to Tek Experts?
At Tek Experts, International Women’s Day is a great opportunity for us to examine the ongoing gender gap in the tech industry and the work we are doing to close this gap. We understand the importance of diversity in the workplace and the positive effects it has on both our employees and the business.
We encourage supporting women in our industry to continue pursuing their career goals, whether it be through mentorship, training, allyship, or another form of support.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity, acknowledging that equal opportunities are not always fair opportunities and encouraging the global understanding of equality versus equity.
What’s the Difference Between Equality and Equity?
Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
World Economic Forum explains that “Equality is the end goal – equity is how you get there.” This means, as a world full of diversity, it’s important to provide opportunities tailored to someone’s needs to be sure all types of people have the same ability to succeed.
This applies not just to women, but to all groups of people. Everyone is different, and therefore everyone requires different types of skilling, work environments, communication methods, and more.
Why is Diversity and Equity Important for Tech Companies?
Embracing diversity in tech has impressive benefits for the employee experience which translates into improved business performance. Check out some of these stats from our recent eBook:
- Companies with over 20% of women in senior management have higher EBITDA margins and ROI.
- Male and female employees are more likely to report a positive employee experience with female managers than with male managers.
- Firms that embrace diversity in their workforce and senior management are 70% more likely to capture new markets.
- Firms that embrace diversity in their workforce and senior management are 45% more likely to report growth in market share over the previous year.
With that said, many tech companies are not experiencing these great benefits because they have yet to embrace a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
What Challenges Do Women Face in Tech Today?
Having a diverse and inclusive culture is key to encouraging people who identify with underrepresented groups to join the industry because they will witness representation of people they can better relate to. However, representation is a major challenge in the tech industry today, as shown in a UK study where pre-university and university students were asked to name a tech role model. Only 17% of females could name a role model versus 41% of males.
This is no surprise considering women are still significantly underrepresented in leadership positions, especially women of color. Women hold only 32% of leadership roles in the tech industry and only 25% of technical roles.
For those women who have worked towards a leadership role, they are twice as likely as women in entry-level positions to say they are “onlys” (i.e. the only woman in the room.) Not to mention, on average women leaders experience more microaggressions than men and men’s voices are often taken more seriously.
But it’s not all bad news. Compared to previous years, more women are being hired at director level and higher and senior-level women are being promoted on average at a higher rate than men. Plus, men in SVP and C-level positions are more likely to leave their companies than women, leaving openings for more women to fill these leadership roles.
Here are just a few ways you and your company can advocate for equity in the tech industry:
- Be an ally. Listen to and support members of underrepresented groups, advocate for your peers, participate in equity programs, and encourage others to do the same.
- Support digital skilling programs. Specifically, programs that provide resources for underrepresented communities who would otherwise not have access to opportunities in the tech industry.
- Attend women in tech industry events. And actively participate!
- Provide female mentorship. This will increase representation and provide young tech professionals with the confidence, skills, and opportunity to grow their careers.
- Be kind to yourself. Women must remember that even with these obstacles, they are capable of being successful in any industry.
How does Tek Experts embrace equity?
At Tek Experts, we live a culture of diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI), but we understand the need for equity as well. That is why we invest in two ongoing programs to support the growth of our employees and the tech industry.
#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative that empowers all people, specifically women and other underrepresented groups to be loud and proud about their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond.
It encourages discussions around the stigma of self-promotion and enables individuals with the confidence to advocate for themselves and to share and be proud of their achievements.
Our DEI committee began hosting this workshop in 2022 and has delivered 8 workshops with 92 participants as of March 2023. It has been extremely well received by employees and we intend to continue this workshop on a quarterly basis.
Tek Experts is inspired by Microsoft’s mission which is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more. To support this mission, we’ve partnered with Microsoft Leap, a program that provides high tech career opportunities to underrepresented individuals, often with nontraditional backgrounds.
Microsoft Leap contributes to a diverse and inclusive culture, helps to bridge the global digital skills gap, provides on-the-job experience, and enables professional and economic mobility for its graduates.
Microsoft Leap supports 3 types of learners:
- Career Re-launcher: Parents who are returning to the tech industry after pausing their career to support their families.
- Career Transformer: Professionals with experience outside of the tech industry but who have a passion for technology.
- Vocational/Community College Graduate: Graduates with a two-year degree in a relevant technology field.
“Microsoft Leap as a program is redefining what great talent looks like and where it comes from.”
– Yolanda Natal-Santos, Microsoft Leap, Senior Business Program Manager
Tek Experts participation with Microsoft Leap began in 2018 at our Lagos, Nigeria site. It has expanded to Rwanda and Bulgaria since then, and we will continue expanding around the globe. Our partnership has focused solely on digitally skilling women, and we are proud to be developing increased opportunities and representation for women in the industry.
“I’m a recent graduate of Microsoft Leap, from the cohort that launched last year in Rwanda, and I can say it was such a beautiful moment to be surrounded with strong women in tech… I was able to learn and get support from my fellow women.”
– Allen Mwiza, Microsoft Leap graduate, Joined Tek Experts in March 2023
What advice do women and allies have for tech industry professionals?
During the webcast, we were able to hear from many of our own employees about their personal experiences working in the tech industry. Here were some key takeaways from our women and allies at Tek Experts:
Thanks to our many presenters, employees around the globe were able to hear stories from peers that they could truly relate to as it pertains to gender equity in the tech industry, and they were able to hear about some incredible initiatives taking place to bridge the global gender gap. We will continue the conversation year-round in order to truly make an impact and #EmbraceEquity.
Interested in being part of a team that embraces a diverse and inclusive culture? Apply now to grow with Tek.