Real estate technology company Redfin and several prominent tech investment firms will encourage startups in their portfolios to recruit an “independent, diverse board member” within two years of funding — marking a new effort to boost diversity amid rising allegations of sexual harassment in the industry.
After seven years of progress, gender equality has taken a step back in the board room. Just under 28 percent of the 431 open board seats in Fortune 500 companies were awarded to women in 2016, down from 30 percent the year before.
U.S. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene — who’s worked at Microsoft, drugstore.com, and Nimble Technology— visited Seattle’s Ada Developers Academy to discuss this persistent issue. Many of Ada’s women agree: there is no single program that can fix tech’s diversity problems. Ada students listed a multitude of things that have kept them from entering the work force: a lack of role models, the discomfort of being the only woman in a room, or simply being told women aren’t suited to tech work.
Women looking for jobs and looking to leave jobs need the same thing: a space to share recommendations — and horror stories. Like Yelp, but for women in the workplace. And now, a host of websites wants to do just that.
Sexism in the workplace is not always overt harassment. It can be downplaying the contributions of women … or simply enforcing a higher bar for raises and promotions. Jason Shen has a few suggestions for retaining that talent.
One of the most important is “Can you do the job?” Simple, right? Not always. At the executive level, the ability to do a job is not just about technical skills, but also about leadership and interpersonal skills. Technical skills help candidates climb the corporate ladder, but the ability to manage up, down, and sideways becomes more important at the executive level.
Globally the number of females represented on financial services boards continues to grow, but a stagnancy at the executive level is disenfranchising millennials as they get to grips with a workplace stuck in its gendered past. Oliver Wyman’s 2016 Women in financial services report revealed that financial services will not reach 30% female executive committee representation until 2048. Millennial women are facing the same problems as their counterparts in the 1980s and 1990s, just without expecting to. This leads to a ‘culture shock’ as they realise traditional gender roles continue to exist in the workplace.
More and more studies are being released that reveal the challenges women face in the office, compared to men, extend well beyond pay differences. “Explicit gender bias has largely disappeared from the workplace due to tougher legislation and increased focus on diversity issues. However, challenges still remain; ones that take a different shape and form from those encountered by prior generations of women.”
A year ago, Maria Renz she became the first woman named technical advisor to CEO Jeff Bezos (a coveted rung on Amazon’s leadership ladder). Today, she delivered the keynote address at Amazon’s first-ever Women’s Entrepreneur Conference. “You learn the most when you’re both comfortable and challenged,” she said.