Despite its remarkable growth and progress, the technology industry is still grappling with a diversity issue – particularly in terms of gender. As new inventions and developments are unveiled each day, it’s urgent that we include people from all walks of life to foster an equitable space for everyone. Women have been underrepresented in tech for years, with only 24% of the computing workforce being female. But this is not due to a lack of talent or ability but rather the result of systemic barriers and biases that prevent women from advancing in the field. This is where mentorship and support networks come in.
Mentorship and support networks are crucial in advancing women in tech. They provide guidance, support, and encouragement to women, helping them navigate the industry’s challenges and succeed in their careers. These networks are made up of people who have experienced similar challenges and have overcome them and who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others.
One of the main benefits of mentorship and support networks is that they provide a sense of community and belonging. Women in tech often feel isolated and alone, particularly in male-dominated environments. Having a support network of like-minded individuals can help to combat this isolation and provide a sense of connection and solidarity.
In addition, mentorship and support networks can help women to build their confidence and self-esteem. Women in tech often face imposter syndrome, feeling like they don’t belong or that they aren’t good enough. Having a mentor or support network can provide validation and encouragement, helping women to overcome these feelings and to believe in themselves and their abilities.
Another benefit of mentorship and support networks is that they provide access to valuable resources and opportunities. Women in tech often struggle to find mentors and role models who look like them and who have experienced similar challenges. Support networks can provide access to these individuals and training, networking opportunities, and other resources that can help women advance in their careers.
Mentorship and support networks can also help to address the gender pay gap in tech. Women in tech earn, on average, 85 cents for every dollar earned by men, and this gap is even wider for women of colour. Mentorship and support networks can help women negotiate higher salaries, seek promotions and career advancement opportunities, and advocate for themselves in the workplace.
So, how can women in tech find mentorship and support networks? There are many organizations and programs that are dedicated to advancing women in tech and providing mentorship and support. Here are just a few examples:
- WomenTech Network: WomenTech Network is a global organization that supports women in tech through networking events, mentorship programs, and providing support, job listings, and other resources.
- Coding Girls: Coding Girls is a nonprofit organization that aims to close the gender gap in tech by teaching girls to code and providing them with support and mentorship.
- Greek Girls Code: is a social initiative and campaign dedicated to advancing Greek women in the fields of science, research, and technology.
- Lean In Circles: Lean In Circles are small groups of women who come together to support each other and to work towards their career goals. They are organized through the Lean In organization, which was founded by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook.
- Tech Ladies: Tech Ladies is a community of women in tech that provides job listings, mentorship opportunities, and networking events.
- National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT): The NCWIT is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the participation of girls and women in computing and technology.
In addition to these organizations, women in tech can also seek mentorship and support within their workplaces. This can involve finding a mentor within the company, joining employee resource groups, or participating in training and development programs.
Overall, mentorship and support networks are essential in advancing women in tech. They provide a sense of community and belonging, help women to build their confidence and self-esteem, provide access to valuable resources and opportunities, and help to address the gender pay gap. By finding and participating in these networks, women can overcome the barriers and biases that have held them back in the past and achieve greater success in their careers.
However, mentorship and support networks are not just beneficial for women in tech. They also benefit the industry as a whole. Research has shown that companies with diverse workforces are more innovative and successful than those without. By supporting and advancing women in tech, we can help to create a more inclusive and innovative industry that benefits everyone.
The role of mentorship and support networks in advancing women in tech is crucial. By providing guidance, support, and community, these networks help women overcome the barriers and biases that have held them back and achieve greater success in their careers. They also benefit the industry as a whole by creating a more diverse and innovative workforce. So, whether you are a woman in tech or someone who wants to support and advance women in the industry, many resources and opportunities are available to you. Let’s work together to create a more inclusive and successful tech industry.