Welcome to Work In Startups X Women In Tech series! For the tech industry in particular, the equal representation of women and men may still have decade’s worth of work left to go. With the tech workforce being made up of just 19% women, it bodes the question…what can we do to encourage more women to enter the tech industry, but additionally, what can be done to also attract women in to more senior and leadership positions. In the second part of this series, we speak Joey Rosenburg from Women Who Code, a platform that provides services for women pursuing technology careers and a job board for companies seeking coding professionals.
Hello! I am Joey Rosenberg, Chief Leadership Officer at Women Who Code, the world’s largest community inspiring diverse women to excel in tech careers. We are working hard to create a world where women are better represented as technologists and tech leaders.
Is there one piece of advice you wish somebody gave you at the beginning of your career?
Go for it! Whatever your dream is, follow it fiercely. You will very likely be surprised by all of the opportunities that unfold if you dare to walk down the path. Also, value the small steps – they add up to greatness!
What’s your opinion on the state of the FemTech Sector currently?
FemTech is all about solving problems that matter for women. It’s a daring industry that isn’t afraid to tackle topics that have been seen as taboo. For far too long, these problems have been overlooked because decisions about which problems are deemed worthy of solving are often made by people with power, influence, and access to capital, frequently leaving women out of the conversation. Today, FemTech is on the rise. Women are boldly stepping up and speaking out about the change they want to see, and finding ways to make it happen.
What’s your opinion on the state of gender diversity within the tech industry?
The reality is that women are being left behind. Women of color are being left behind at even higher rates. When these voices are missing from the table, it’s less likely that their needs will be at the forefront of decisions made about products that shape our world. Rather than turn away from these challenges, we should be investing in every aspect of the talent pipeline to ensure that diverse women are supported to consider careers in tech, thrive while in industry, return to the industry after breaks, and excel into leadership.
Looking at the rise in Femtech companies and the importance of having women within this sector, do you think it will help accelerate a change from a male dominated tech industry?
Femtech has the potential to help women see that tech can be used to solve problems that are highly relevant to their needs, which may generate greater interest in the field. The real influencers will be those with access to resources. This is a huge market, but we are just in the early stages of seeing it’s potential. Hopefully, investors will recognize that women are uniquely positioned to drive this sector of the industry forward, and demonstrate this understanding by increasing the portion of their investment portfolios going to women-led startups in the field.
What do you think we should be doing more of to encourage more women to consider a career in tech?
We need to make tech tangible and accessible. From a young age, we should assume that anyone can be an engineer. We should be showing girls what it’s like to work in technology, giving them role models they can relate to, and sharing resources to help them develop their skills. This should be echoed from early education all the way up through to professional career services.
How have you found it best to promote and nurture women in the workplace?
Be intentional. Inclusion doesn’t happen by desire, it happens by design. Companies should be reviewing their policies and practices to ensure that bias is acknowledged and reduced at every step from hiring to career advancement. Team leaders should consider how projects are determined and allocated, ensuring that diverse teams have the opportunity to elevate the most pressing challenges that they want to solve. Finally, address bias and discrimination head on. Companies should be actively listening to and believing their employees when they say that they face discrimination, and taking tangible and visible steps to address it.
What is your advice for female entrepreneurs entering the industry?
Know your worth and believe in yourself. Your viewpoint might not be immediately amplified because it might not fit the status quo. The world needs those voices more than ever. Find a community, like Women Who Code where you can build a supportive network, keep your skills fresh, and find a sense of belonging in tech. This goes a long way to creating the staying power and resiliency you’ll need to excel in this industry.