Venture Cafe had an event She Connects, a night celebrating women entrepreneurs. I attended a town hall on women in tech and here are my notes. The forum was broken into four categories, pipeline, mentoring, leadership and strategic partnerships.
Encouraging women in tech, bringing and keeping them in the workforce.
- Learning and motivation does not come from expensive kits, it can just come from encouragement, role models, and learning fundamentals.
- A suggestion was raised to socialize young boys and girls to see females as engineers. Having boys see women engineers can go a long way for them accepting their female peers as future engineers.
- Job descriptions need to be inclusive and not signalling male culture. Example given was stereotypical male nerd culture like Star Wars should not be in a job description.
Mentoring and growing women in tech.
- Mentoring is a two way relationship, there needs to be a reciprocal benefit. How can you add value for your mentor?
- Male mentors are just as important as female mentors. Males have the ability to make a difference. Males may also have privilege they can leverage to help their mentee.
- If you benefited from a mentor, consider giving back and “sending the elevator back down”
How women in tech can be a leader.
- Part of being a leader is confidence.Confidence is knowing the value you represent. Know what experience, education, and skills you have.
- Leaders are forward thinking. Work from where you want to be in a year backwards and then execute. Apply this same strategy to the business.
- Passion is important in a leader and your team members can tell if you are passionate.
- Female leadership often looks different than the male assertive culture. Work to redefine leadership to be more nurturing and reflective.
Connecting women to opportunities that may be typically for men
- Women are given less opportunities than men because of culture and assumptions.
- Forums focused on women entrepreneurs are a great way to be open, give back and keep the conversation flowing.
- Some aspects of start-up culture like pitch competitions are more suited for male bravado and can be exclusive.