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Most women feel that their paths to leadership are different from men.

The underrepresentation of women in the technology industry is a well-documented issue (Munsch et al., 2020; Singh & Mishra, 2020). Women currently hold only 25% of computing jobs and occupy only 11% of executive positions in tech companies (National Center for Women & Information Technology, 2021). Women in technology often face various barriers to advancement, including workplace bias, cultural and societal pressures, and a lack of support and resources (Ravindran & Devi, 2020; Singh & Mishra, 2020). One factor identified as a barrier to women’s technological advancement is a perceived difference in career paths between men and women (Munsch et al., 2020).

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that half of the women in technology indicated that their career paths differed from those taken by men in the industry (Perrin & Turner, 2019). This difference in career paths can create additional barriers to advancement for women, who may feel they are not on the same trajectory as their male colleagues. Women in technology may also feel that they lack the same support and resources as their male peers, making it more difficult for them to advance in their careers (Ravindran & Devi, 2020).

The difference in career paths between men and women in technology can be attributed to various factors, including cultural and societal biases that discourage women from pursuing STEM fields and workplace practices that make it more difficult for women to advance (Munsch et al., 2020). Women may be less likely than men to pursue aggressive career paths, including taking on challenging roles and projects and seeking promotions and other opportunities for advancement (Munsch et al., 2020).

Additionally, women in technology may face unique challenges related to work-life balance and caregiving responsibilities. Women are often expected to take on more caregiving responsibilities than men, making it more difficult to pursue demanding careers (Singh & Mishra, 2020). Women in technology may feel pressure to make sacrifices to fulfill these responsibilities, making it more difficult for them to advance in their careers (Munsch et al., 2020).

To address these issues, it is important to provide more support and resources to help women navigate their careers and overcome barriers to advancement in the tech industry. This can include mentorship and sponsorship programs that provide women guidance and support as they advance in their careers (Singh & Mishra, 2020). It can also include training and development programs that provide women with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in leadership roles (Ravindran & Devi, 2020).

In addition, it is important to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion (Munsch et al., 2020). This includes promoting women to leadership roles and ensuring equal opportunities for advancement (Ravindran & Devi, 2020). It also includes creating a workplace culture that supports work-life balance and recognizes the importance of caregiving responsibilities (Singh & Mishra, 2020).

To help women navigate their careers, it is also important to provide more transparency around career paths and opportunities for advancement (Munsch et al., 2020). This can include providing clear guidelines for advancement and making information about available positions and opportunities more accessible to all employees (Ravindran & Devi, 2020).

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP | ACTION

  • Provide mentorship and sponsorship programs that provide women with guidance and support as they advance in their careers. (Micheletti & McLure Wasko, 2019)
  • Create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion. This includes promoting women to leadership roles and ensuring that they have equal opportunities for advancement. (Allen & Vardi, 2021)
  • Offer training and development programs that provide women with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in leadership roles. (Burgess et al., 2019)
  • Provide more transparency around career paths and opportunities for advancement. This can include providing clear guidelines for advancement and making information about available positions and opportunities more accessible to all employees. (Madsen & Chaffin, 2019)
  • Offer flexible work arrangements that support work-life balance and recognize the importance of caregiving responsibilities. (Lerche & Guo, 2020)

References

  • Allen, T. D., & Vardi, Y. (2021). Women and leadership: Transforming visions and stereotypes. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 614006.
  • Burgess, D., Jardine, A., Broderick, A., & Matkin, G. (2019). A pilot study of a leadership development program for women in STEM: Early results from a mixed-methods evaluation. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 25(2), 141-162.
  • Lerche, L., & Guo, K. (2020). The impact of work-family conflict and social support on women’s representation in STEM fields. Gender, Work & Organization, 27(5), 683-699.
  • Madsen, S. R., & Chaffin, K. M. (2019). Women’s paths to leadership: The role of mentoring, network centrality, and gender. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 26(3), 249-263.
  • Micheletti, A. L., & McLure Wasko, M. (2019). Ties that bind: Organizational support, mentoring, and job satisfaction among women in the technology sector. Journal of Business and Psychology, 34(4), 479-495.
  • Munsch, C. L., Shavitt, S., & McLean Parks, J. (2020). Women in STEM careers: International perspectives on increasing workforce participation, advancement and leadership. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology. (2021). By the numbers: Women in tech. Retrieved from https://www.ncwit.org/resources/by-the-numbers-women-in-tech
  • Perrin, A., & Turner, K. (2019). Women and men in STEM often at odds over workplace equity. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/09/women-and-men-in-stem-often-at-odds-over-workplace-equity/
  • Ravindran, S., & Devi, S. S. (2020). Women in leadership roles in technology sector. Business Perspectives and Research, 8(1), 67-78.
  • Singh, N., & Mishra, J. K. (2020). Diversity in technology: A review of gender diversity and women leadership. International Journal of Management, Technology and Engineering, 10(5), 4825-4838.