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New Tech Coalition in the United States is closing the tech gender gap through philanthropy and corporate responsibility

Marie is the President of digital marketing agency, Marketing CoPilot which has been serving the tech sector for 15 years. She is a 25-year veteran of the tech sector and shares the stories of women in tech on her podcast, Women Talk Tech, available on iTunes, Google Play and MarketingCopilot.com. Contact Marie at https://www.linkedin.com/in/marketingcopilot/

Time to stop talking and start acting!

During a recent series of tech meet-ups across Canada, hosted by Synnex and CompTIA, I was fortunate to take part in panel discussions to address why women are not well represented in tech. We had great conversations about what it means to be in tech today and why the numbers are declining but when it came to the topic of, “what do we do about it?” people are still struggling.

During these meet-ups held in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, we workshopped the issue. The standard responses about how to address the gender gap issue percolated to the top:

  1. Educate girls earlier about tech careers
  2. Create mentorship programs
  3. Do more outreach in the sector to discuss the gender gap issue

These are all great suggestions and they are being done today but the numbers are still declining of women entering and staying in tech.

We talk about the business outcomes of having more diversity in tech companies. According to a report developed by McKinsey and supported by tech companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Dell, eBay, Snap Inc, LinkedIn, and many more, it’s time for corporate responsibility to step up. (See full report for details)

“Companies with diverse teams – including with more women – are more creative, innovative and ultimately, more profitable.”

So why isn’t every tech company on board?

I can’t say for certain what some of the underlying issues may be, but the simple fact is that tech companies need to do more. And doing more means fundamentally changing their approach to the problem. We have to get more creative and more inventive.

To help more women prepare for careers in the tech industry, McKinsey collaborated with Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates, on a comprehensive study to examine how tech-company philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) investments can improve the gender diversity of the tech pipeline. This report, Rebooting representation: Using CSR and philanthropy to close the gender gap in tech, offers a detailed analysis of the current state of the tech sector’s gender gap, as well as practical guidance for tech companies interested in increasing the diversity of the tech pipeline.

While this report is US centric, I think it’s fair to say it reflects the same things we are seeing in the Canadian market.

The report, Rebooting Representation, has a powerful list of stats about why we can’t wait any longer.

  • Demand for advanced IT and programming skills will grow by as much as 90 percent over the next 15 years.
  • Business leaders across sectors are already reporting an expected tech skills shortage in their companies within the next three years.
  • The competition for technical talent is about to become much fiercer across industries as companies of all types grow their technical capabilities.
  • To stay ahead, the tech sector needs to rapidly expand its talent pool by investing in and attracting historically underutilized talent, including women.

It’s time to get creative. I would love to hear your thoughts on what we can do, what’s working and what’s not working for your tech company? Drop me a line at marie@marketingcopilot.com. And download this report, it’s well done and complete. A great guide for people who want to stop talking and start doing!