By Diksha Khatri, Senior Engineering Manager at Celigo

When asked to visualise a ‘leader’ in technology, do you picture a man in a suit?

Well, you wouldn’t be alone because 91% of people believe there are more men in tech than women.

It’s a sad reality that women often feel left out of the conversation. And organisations, society and educational institutes have a role to play to change the mindset and encourage more girls to enter the industry.

Personally, one of the biggest challenges I’ve come across is the stark lack of diversity that led me to wonder whether I could have a long-term career in engineering.

Finding the root cause(s)

The problem starts at the root. Technology offers exciting, innovative ideas that span each sector and industry, and we must showcase its benefits to young people, so they understand how to forge a career in tech. This means teaching valuable STEM skills as early as possible, inviting role models into schools to hold talks, and having more open and honest conversations in organisations.

Without a doubt we’ve seen some improvement over the years – for example, making gender pay gap reporting a law in the UK was a positive step. But in order to reach a point where women are happy with their representation, we must address the issue at the very top; as little as 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women.

In addition to increasing STEM education in schools, colleges and universities – businesses also have a part to play, to reflect internally and ensure policies and processes don’t seed further bias. It’s proven that inclusive companies are 1.7x more likely to be innovation leaders in their market, and businesses with more inclusive and diverse cultures achieve 2.2x higher sales and 3.2x higher profits.

Empowering and inspiring young women

When I started as a Software developer 11 years ago, some of the things which really helped me step up as a developer were troubleshooting production issues and fixing bugs, which I equally enjoyed and despised. I am lucky to have worked in cultures that are technically challenging but allowed me freedom to explore and do things in my way. The support system and open environments enabled me to learn and grow at my own pace. However, if you do not have the right support or mentors due to the lack of a diverse culture, this could potentially hinder growth and stagnate an otherwise bright future in tech.

My current role gives me ample opportunities to do what I like the best – problem-solving around planning, processes, and people. Now I handle multiple teams, oversee end-to-end delivery, jump into scoping, lead on designs and implementation and, most importantly, mentor my colleagues. I love empowering them without micromanaging or compromising on the quality of work we produce. It’s a real achievement as a woman in tech to build a career and I’d love to empower others to do the same.

Female leaders can and will transform a company, but to entice women to reach their goals, we must also celebrate role models in the industry. Safra Cratz and Elizabeth Churchill are two that come to mind – not to mention generational icons like Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie.

The future is bright

The IT industry is constantly evolving with newer technologies and there is a lot to explore for young women in tech.  There are more opportunities to get creative and it’s becoming easier to use and build new technologies. It’s exciting to see what change we can drive together with the next generation of women tech leaders.

With the technology industry facing more disruption than ever, it is important that the basic foundations are put in place first. Therefore, building up a diverse, equal workforce will ensure businesses and women thrive.

And remember, it doesn’t just start (or end) here. Technology is in everything we do from driving to work to ordering a new jumper from Amazon, so children should be taught from a young age that they too can become innovators in their own right.

I am excited to see how bright the future will be for our next generation of leaders and how businesses and educators will step up to meet them.

About the author

Diksha embodies the qualities of a visionary leader and a passionate advocate for quality. She is an innovator with a collaborative and inclusive mindset and has a passion for exploring new ideas. As a leader and woman in STEM she feels she has a duty to encourage young girls into the industry to maintain a bright and diverse future.


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