Women think and react differently to men; that was the topic of discussion at a Mortimer Spinks women in technology...
roundtable recently, in partnership with Computer Weekly and Lady Geek.
With this noted, the roundtable believed this difference should be reflected in the way that jobs, roles and training are presented to ensure both genders are attracted to positions in technology.
Present at the roundtable was Kathryn Parsons, founder of DeCoded. She runs a technology training company which aims to teach people how to code in a day.
Parsons said: “We’ve had a 50/50 gender split on training at DeCoded, but the difference is that the females say they are going to fail. The men do not.”
The table felt that women have a tendency not to apply for a job role if the requirements are bulleted, as the majority will only apply if they are qualified in most of the points on the list.
Lucie Sarif, head of strategy and planning at Lady Geek, added: “It’s not just about the right person for the role, but are the right people going for the job?”
Gender aside, the discussion moved to the image of the technology industry as a whole – an industry which is stereotyped as being dominated by male geeks or nerds.
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Lauren Smith, programme manager at Credit Suisse, said: “Technology was not considered as geeky in the 1970s. There were far more women programmers then, but the media has contributed to its geeky image.”
Smith explained how she believes technology is a worthwhile career for any gender and that the negative stereotypes surrounding the industry do not encourage people to even consider a career in technology: “Tech is like solving puzzles – it’s a fantastic career as you can do all kinds of things with tech.”
Neeti Parihar, senior business analyst at The Telegraph, agreed by saying: “I’m amazed that people pay me to do what I do.”
With the image that comes attached to those who work in technology, it seems that getting either gender to apply for roles in technology is an issue. However, the women noted that the judgement that is passed on females at a certain time in their lives is something that may never disappear, even if it is no longer legally allowed to be said out loud.
Ritu Saini, lead business analyst at TH_NK, said: “A woman could outdo a guy on a job role but the employer will go through a journey in their head that if she’s in her mid-30s and either she has not had children yet or she is planning to have more.”
Also present at the roundtable were representatives from Monitise, The Geek People, Sporting Solutions, RollUpMedia, News International and AKQA.