Mentorship Initiative: Keeping Young Women in Technology
Women represent 21% in tech employment. Changing this is not only the right thing to do but also good for business. Diverse teams improve ROI, increase innovation, and solve problems better. Turnover of women in the tech sector is problematic, 56% of women leave by the time they are midlevel in their career. Turnover can not only lead to disruption but cost up to 200% of salary. Helping women navigate barriers for senior advancement is important as fortune 500 companies that had more women in senior management saw returns increase. As we aim to use technology to alleviate poverty it is all too important that we design and utilize IT products created by diverse teams.
The digital gender divide is a barrier in achieving equitable scale and impact with technology for poverty alleviation. Having women involved in technology programming is important to assure that this issue is not skipped and different perspectives are accounted for in resolving this problem. One way to improve the participation and retention of women in technology is through mentorship. In a survey conducted by ISACA, the top two barriers experienced by women in technology are a lack of mentors (48% of respondents) and a lack of female role models in the field (42% of respondents).
Mentorship provides a support network and community for women to help them navigate their technology career. It helps mentees explore new possibilities within the sector as well as navigate difficulties in advancing to senior positions. Often women leave positions in the sciences not because they are not gifted but rather due to the“slow drumbeat of being underappreciated, feeling uncomfortable and encountering roadblocks along the path to success”- Meg Urry. Mentorship provides a way to give women examples of who they can become that often do not exist in their organization and dispel the myth that you have to give up everything to pursue a career in technology.
Register to Become a Mentor
It is recommended the you meet with your mentee for at least one hour a month for the first six months. After which you can both decide which frequency and duration is ideal.
There are many benefits to becoming a mentor.
- Increased organizational recognition from peers and superiors
- Establishment of base of support in the organization
- Great understanding of issues facing employees
- Opportunity to test ideas and develop new ideas from gaining mentee’s perspective
- Acquisition of new information