As co-founders who are building the first platform that matches women in tech with jobs, we’re tired of hearing that there aren’t enough female developers out there. We know there are because we see them signing up on PowerToFly every day. The real problem is that there aren’t the right work environments for women in tech.
PowerToFly was born out of the simple truth that women have changed, but workplaces haven’t. There are more highly experienced female workers than ever before, and yet companies can’t find enough women to create diverse teams to fuel innovation. Here’s how employers can add women to their tech teams:
1. Embrace the benefits of remote work.
Women have been traditionally bound to the home for biological reasons — family, babies, sick children and parents. Cultural reasons that are especially dominant in parts of the Middle East also make it very hard for educated women to commute to offices each day. Remote work erases that and gives countless more women opportunities that simply won’t exist for them otherwise. And as per this piece by Naomi Wolfe, it transcends cultural barriers, using technology to put pay directly in the hands of women who then distribute the wealth to other family members or people who support them through nanny care and other services, creating potential for greater social change.
2. Realize that “campus culture” is overrated.
Geography is limiting and watercooler collaboration can happen as easily on Slack as it can in person. By opening the door to remote work, companies instantly multiply and diversify their hiring pools. Hiring globally across time zones means managers can assign something at night and have it completed in the morning. Plus, how many people do you know who can actually say they get work done in an office? When they do, as the authors of Remote point out, workers usually qualify their statement by saying they come in early or stay late to avoid distractions.
3. Create a work culture that’s attractive to moms.
Egg freezing is great, but what about the women who want to have a family now? Women at the prime of their careers shouldn’t have to choose between work and having children later in life because they think it will land them a faster promotion. Not to mention if the majority of your employees are pre-family, you cut your ability to connect with a major customer base. This is not just about women having it all. It’s about flexible work environments that benefit everyone involved. We see proof every day that moms are some of the most motivated and efficient workers out there. Perks such as flex time can go a long way towards morale, without cutting productivity. We can say from experience that taking our daughters to a midday music class once a week doesn’t get in the way of us getting our work done.
4. Pay them what they’re worth.
We’re still facing a significant gender wage gap, not to mention the confidence gap, and even the mom gap. The solution here is simple: There’s no excuse for paying women less for equal work. At PowerToFly, we coach women on how to ask for what they’re worth, but the effort has to be made at the hiring manager level. Again, making sure a woman has a salary that’s fair and equal to a man’s means she’ll stick around, costing you less in the long run when it comes to searching for and training new talent.
5. Rethink hiring.
When you’re vetting applicants, look at the work that has been done, not the years that a women has spent in the office. There are so many highly skilled women out there who are self taught. They may not have big brand names on their resumes, but they’ve built projects that can easily scale for large companies. And remember, diversity begets diversity. Hire more women and they will, in turn, hire, advocate for and mentor more women.
Berry and Zaleski are the co-founders of PowerToFly. Berry was previously the CTO of Avaaz.org, where she ran a 20-person tech team across six continents that served 33 million members — all while raising three kids. Zaleski has worked at CNN and was one of the first employees and the senior news editor at The Huffington Post from the month the site launched until 2009. She was the executive director of digital news at The Washington Post and founding managing editor of NowThis News. She co-founded PowerToFly shortly after having her first child. PowerToFly’s editor, Marie Elizabeth Oliver, contributed to this post.