By Patricia Hume, CEO of Canvas GFX

Women working with computer for design and coding programOver the last couple of years the UK technology industry has enjoyed significant growth, with Britain becoming Europe’s top scaling tech nation, and improving its global standing.  

Impressive as that clearly is, research suggests that the UK tech sector still has some way to go in overcoming inequality. A survey by WISE shows that the number of women in the tech sector has hardly changed over the past ten years despite an industry-wide push. Meanwhile women account for only 16% of managers globally in the information technology industry and, at the highest levels, only 20% of CFOs and 3% of CEOs.

Over the 40 years I’ve worked in the tech sector, there has been a great deal of positive change – but it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had to challenge many preconceptions and fight for every opportunity in order to progress. With International Women’s Day (IWD) having taken place this month, here are four tips to help women progress within the technology sector.

1) Network

Networking is so important to progress within the industry and we all need to do more of it; crossing boundaries, uniting interests, understanding cultures, and building businesses. There is huge opportunity in developing networks that empower and enable; 1+1 can equal 3. We have much to learn from each other and we can provide more value than we know with a simple connection.

2) Get a mentor

Regardless of your field, having a mentor is one of the most effective means of supporting your own development. Working with someone who has experience within the industry, and can offer support and advice when needed, will help you navigate all manner of challenges. It is impossible to teach yourself everything and none of us have all the answers. Institutions – such as Women in Tech – run mentorship programs matching mentees with mentors from all backgrounds in technology.

3) Accept and embrace failure

Fear of failure can destroy opportunities. And while it can often be frustrating or unpleasant when things go wrong you have to remember the old adage about failure being the path to success. It’s how we learn, and improve, and perfect products and processes. Accept that it is going to happen and try to focus on the lessons learned rather than the frustrations.

4) Be opportunity-focused 

It can be too easy to take a defensive view of potential competitors – both outside and inside the organization. Try, wherever possible, to look for the opportunities in a relationship between organizations, departments, and individuals. Start conversations, stay open-minded. You will almost always learn something from talking to others about their aims and challenges. And you’ll almost likely always discover something in common – which can only help with the drive for greater equality.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the technology industry, partly because of the work there is to be done in addressing inequality. I believe that with every passing day we are moving closer to true parity, to a time when everyone has the same opportunity to learn, to succeed, to fail, and to get back up again and keep trying.

About the author

Patricia HumePatricia Hume is a dynamic and energetic executive with 35 years of experience in the high technology sector. She brings a wealth of cross-functional experience along with a strong operational background. Patricia’s expertise is turn around and growth. Coupling strategic vision with operational execution she has demonstrated a successful track record across large and microcap organizations. She is a strong sales, marketing, and business development leader who has experience in all global markets.

In addition to Wisdom, Patricia has been named CEO of Canvas GFX. Canvas software is used by people to document and share complex objects and systems. Some of the largest companies in the aerospace, defense, and manufacturing markets use Canvas as an integral part of their documentation workflow.

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