I’ve been working in tech companies for over 16 years now, and I’ve been fortunate to have been surrounded by other likeminded women in marketing.

Being a female marketer in this particular space is fairly normalised and I’m proud to have experienced many global growth journeys before joining the Summize team.

That being said, as a female marketeer in tech I sometimes feel as if I often have to wear two hats. On the one hand, I’m pleased women are coming through into marketing and comms roles. It’s not uncommon to see female marketing leaders in UK tech companies in similar positions, so I feel we’re relatively well placed as a function to play a part in the success of businesses in a saturated, male-dominated industry. On the other, although I feel empowered in my role and department, why is the tech industry still so imbalanced? We should all be questioning why women are filling the more ‘gendered’ roles in tech, like marketing or HR, and not some of the other roles such as engineering or sales.

I am part of a marketing team which is 75% female, and we are driving forward huge growth in the tech space, which I’m proud of, but I remind myself daily that the gender gap in tech is still huge. It’s the age-old binary, that more creative industries and perceived ‘softer functions’ of a business are for women, and the technical roles are for the men…

It’s a vicious cycle. Younger women starting out in their careers perceive that the tech industry is male dominated and are therefore not always likely to apply for that very reason. In particular, I have seen first-hand the difficulties of striking a gender balance in development and sales roles within the tech industry. That is where the cycle begins, because younger women are deterred from starting careers in tech, it’s no surprise that senior leadership teams are then often overwhelmingly made up of men. We need to break that chain by empowering more younger women to be bold, brave and take that step no matter what the stereotypes say.

A crucial piece of advice I’d give to any woman in tech, whether that’s somebody starting out in a junior position or maybe someone making a career change, is having the self confidence that you are the best person for that job. Don’t let the insecurity of being a woman in the industry affect your self-perception, and start from a place of positive intent with the employer rather than assuming there may be a natural bias. Imposter syndrome is a huge issue amongst women in tech and I’ve encountered it throughout my career.

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The reality is though, a self-fulfilling prophecy can only go so far when we don’t have leaders who really take the gender gap seriously. It is crucial for any senior leader to really question what their own thoughts are on the matter, and what they can do to better support the women in their organisation, without feeling awkward when the topic arises. A culture needs to be created where women feel confident voicing their concerns, where self-belief is not hindered, and where senior teams champion the benefits of a diverse team. The leaders in this industry need to do more in supporting and championing women, and then it will filter down.

Whilst the problem is real, it is important to note that the objective of hiring more women is not the simple answer. It’s bigger than this, part of a broader culture shift and not a box ticking exercise. Tech leaders need to think more laterally when it comes to hiring, too. For example, look for female maths or physics graduates who have early coding skills such as logic, problem solving and puzzle-making. Or female performing arts or psychology graduates who might not know they have the skills to work in sales, but could be awesome at communication and storytelling.

At Summize, we work on our approach to inclusion through things like a DEI committee, internal workshops around social issues and DEI subjects to create an open forum where people share their own experiences, thoughts and perspectives. We’ve had great feedback about this format, ensuring our team is centred around togetherness, respect and championing one another, regardless of who they are.

We’re all about continuous improvement and know that the road to true gender parity, in the tech industry is a journey not a destination. That perspective forms the basis of questions I’d like to ask to any senior leader in tech: what day-to-day changes can you put in place to make your business more gender inclusive? How can you create a space where women can thrive, whether that’s in a marketing, software, or sales role? Have you asked yourself the question of what you could do to attract more women, particularly in the departments with lower representation?

I’d like to see the next generation of the tech industry strike a much more representative and diverse gender balance, and to me, the best place to start is those everyday changes that may seem small but make all the difference. It’s about making it a natural part of the everyday conversation, not a quarterly agenda item. It’s about making those early connections for women who may not already know they have the core skills to thrive in the world of tech. This way, the solutions and tech ideas of tomorrow will be best designed to work for everyone.

Laura ProctorAbout the author

Experienced B2B marketer Laura Proctor joined Manchester tech start-up Summize in 2022 as VP of Marketing, having previously spearheaded the marketing strategy for a number of high-growth software companies including AppLearn, Apadmi and Avecto.

She now leads Summize’s marketing strategy and execution as the business moves from start-up to global scale-up with international recognition as one of the leading digital contracting businesses in the game.