I started product discovery journey for KareerTracker from June last year. There were lots interests from busy parents who have ambitions to grow their careers while having more time with family. We believed that there were more demanding from women because they have more difficulties in managing time and keeping focus from interviews. But the January usage stats told us a different story and the ratio between mums and dads was 2:8 and dads are much more active than mums too.
To search for cause of the problem, I attended an excellent session, “Women in Agile”, by @StephBySouth which attendees talked about gender gap in Agile community at Melbourne.
There are 3 great learning from the meetup:
The culture is root cause of the difference in ratio
A girl just graduated went into a high performance agile team. The team members have great relationships, they drinked together, they even have retrospective in someone’s house. They have great geek culture. The girl found it was difficulty fitting in and left the company after just two months.
90% of problem raised in meetup is related to culture. In Keira Snyder’s research, 65% of women leaving IT industry and not looking come back to IT becauses of maternity leave and social responsibilities such as taking care of kids.
The #likeagirl campaign has highlight how deep the problem is. If you haven’t watch the video, watch the video below:
Lots of women are leaving IT, and it is a leaking pipe
There are lots of women leaving IT because of social responsibilities like taking care of kids. From discussion, the flexibility of working hours becomes one of the biggest impediments for women. And in the same time, most women worked in highly collaborative roles like Iteration Manager, Product Manager and other roles which requires highly effective collaborative skills. It is very difficult for them to have different working times because of nature of jobs. There is no clear solution for the problem.
We need to solve this problem. Otherwise, we will have leaking pipe and there will be never enough women in IT.
We need to respect difference between women and men including social responsibilities
Women and men are genetically different and they were brought up differently. To increase number of women working in Agile and IT, we need to respect differences.
There are lots of women working as testers, iteration managers, UX/UI, and product managers. But we see trends that there are actions to try to increase ratio of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) . But is that what we should do? There are many skills that we need for IT industry. Support, respect and think benefits of one’s skills to team is a starting point.
Article from Rachel Sklar, “Stop Equating Women in Tech with Engineers”, is a very nice reading about Stop Equating Women in Tech with Engineers.
If you are interested in Women in IT (Gender Gap in IT Issue), you can read following blogs
- Introduction and analysis of problem
- Why we need women in IT industry
- Actions in place
- twitter hashtag #heforshe