Home > IWD, Women In Tech > IWD2018 – Another year followed by a stream of broken promises.

IWD2018 – Another year followed by a stream of broken promises.

As a woman in Tech, I find this one of the most depressing days of the years. And this year more so because I have just wrapped up at an industry tech conference.

Companies, committees and organizers state: “we are changing things, it’s better and if something does happen it won’t be tolerated.” Personally, I call BS. Yes, it has gotten better. There is no doubt about that, but it hasn’t gone nearly far enough. The reality of it is, in 2018 I was still hugged, touched, hands-on back and arms over my shoulder by men I barely knew, if at all, this WEEK.  The Canadian MVPs are over 200 strong, I think it’s closer to the 250, and guess how many of them are women? 15. My fellow MVP listed us in a single tweet.

Jen tweet

There were so few women at this conference that the women’s washrooms were empty. I had the entire washroom to myself. Imagine a line of open stalls. It’s sad that the only time this happens is at STEM Conferences.

I was asked yesterday about how we can fix this. It’s a good question, and I don’t have the answer. But here is my list as a place to start in the workplace:

  1. Put more strong women on the stage. This week I only saw one woman take the stage to present. And by strong, I mean a woman who the others look at in the room and draw inspiration from.
  2. Showcase your female employees. I’m betting a lot of them have dealt with inequality in their profession and giving them a voice inspires others.
  3. To the women out there, if there an issue, report it. Companies cannot fix a problem they don’t know they have.
  4. HR, if an employee reports an issue, do something about it.
  5. For the men. Before you drape your arm over the women beside you, place your hand on her back, hold her elbow, give her a hug, etc. simply ask yourself this question “would I do the same thing to a male counterpart?”

This was not meant to pick on men.  I work with some amazing men who I admire and are huge advocates for women in STEM. I met several men this week who know there is an issue and are taking steps to a more inclusive environment, whether that is in the workplace, conference or IT User group etc.

This is not a woman problem nor is it a man problem it’s a people problem and one that we have to fix together.

 

Categories: IWD, Women In Tech
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