Misogyny in the tech world begins with internal policies that have a direct effect on how quickly and efficiently change happens at all levels. We here at CleanTechnica acknowledge how important it is to have diverse and inclusive work environments where women and other underrepresented groups in society can innovate and thrive. A tech environment that welcomes all offers many more technological advances so our world can become cleaner and more egalitarian. In this second installment of our three-part series, we look at how innovation, investments, and keen business discourse are important factors in women’s success in the tech world.
Commit Yourself to Innovation in the Tech World
It seems as if a new innovation is announced daily in the tech world. Nanotechnology like hot solar cells and reversing paralysis. Autonomous driving. Exponential banking. Artificial intelligence and cybernetics. Innovation drives the tech sector, creating new career opportunities and making yesterday’s revelations obsolete.
When women in tech are constantly seeking out solutions to problems, offering new approaches to time-worn processes, contributing alternative strategic thinking to the team, and troubleshooting shortcuts and unexpected pathways that bring the future to today’s protocols, misogyny in the tech world diminishes. That’s because innovation is the primary vehicle for any tech company to stay competitive. Your innovations become more important than your birth sex traits.
That’s the approach of Shaherose Charania, who is co-founder and CEO of Women 2.0 — “the leading brand for women in tech.” One of its ventures is Lane, which vets jobs for women engineers, data scientists, product managers, and other tech industry positions. By providing a connection point between high-quality tech talent and workplaces that care about making their companies more successful through inclusion, Lane is a catalyst for positive gender change in the tech workplace. Charania says that her company’s quest to bring visibility to women in tech is only a beginning in the fight against misogyny in the tech world. Females in tech, she argues, must transcend historic patterns in which they surrender to self-questioning inner voices. Instead, females in tech need to commit themselves to inquiry that leads to innovation.
“Women no longer have an ‘if I can’ mindset. Now it’s more about ‘how I can’—be in tech, start something in tech, fund something in tech. That shift is exciting! And it happened because we created a network where we show, daily, that women are innovating.” — Shaherose Charania
Surround Yourself with Investors Who Aren’t Wary of Female Tech Expertise
There are people who accrue wealth by assessing potential rising entrepreneurs and their start-up companies. These investors are really interested in only one thing: will you be able to provide return on investment (ROI) if they fund your tech innovation? So, whether you’re already building your resume from within an existing tech company or going the sole proprietor route, surround yourself with investors who believe that your tech wherewithal will produce dividends for them. Check out established tech companies with female CEOs and see who funded them at the beginning. It’s likely that they’re open to listening to a pitch from another female in the tech world, especially if you have a sound business plan.
That’s how Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO of MikMak.TV, beat back misogyny in the tech world. Her company is a platform designed to connect brands to today’s video shoppers. She acknowledges that the dominance of males in the tech industry can be overwhelming for females who are trying to make an impact. She also offers some advice to females about ways not to succumb to the male muck that feeds misogyny in the tech world.
“When you enter tech, you realize that there are more men than women. You can’t deny that. But, I don’t think you can make that an obstacle. You can’t get deterred as a female founder knowing that’s the landscape. You need to ignore the naysayers (of course there will be naysayers) and surround yourself with investors who believe in you, believe in your idea, believe in the market you’re going after, and believe in your ability to execute, most importantly.” — Rachel Tipograph
Speak Their Language, Be Cautious, and Exude Confidence to Minimize Misogyny in the Tech World
Being prudent and judicious while speaking in one-to-one dialogue, in meetings, and at conferences can help females in the tech world to disabuse male counterparts of notions of female emotionalism. Don’t give into the stereotype of being ladylike, soft-spoken, polite, and proper. It is more effective to use business discourse conventions to accomplish objectives. Be open with your goals and descriptive in what you hope to accomplish. By articulating a plan of action, you could be surprised by the support you get from your network and from those who hover safely in the background. They just may join you in your journey or privately cheer you on, knowing what you’re going through and offering overt or covert contributions that can lessen misogyny in the tech world.
Manisha Raisinghani is head of technology and products at LogiNext Solutions, which provides configurable enterprise logistics management software solutions for clients using smart technology and big data analytics. In a 2015 interview, Raisinghani described how she is leading by example through incorporating a strong female voice as a way to overcome misogyny in the tech world.
“The mental dilemma — to speak or not to speak — is always at the back of one’s mind. As women, somehow, we aren’t exactly open about things. We try to hide what we really mean. I say — muster your confidence, don’t for a second be apprehensive, and speak out. Don’t worry about what they will think or say. People will come around and start accepting your strong female voice in a jiffy.” — Manisha Raisinghani
In our next and final part of this three-part series, we’ll look at how women in the tech world combine personal traits and collaboration to make inroads for success. Misogyny in the tech world need not be permanent nor debilitating; it does take a commitment on the part of powerful industry insiders and community advocates to rise up in support of policies that change the prevailing cultural norms within the tech world that privilege males.