November 21, 2017

7 Ways to Further Growth For Women in The Tech Industries

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The world’s business needs are growing, changing and technology are rushing to keep up with the needs of the new and current business. How many tech jobs are out there, and how much more is coming? Here are business tech needs by the numbers:

When it comes to tech, women are gaining, but in small steps. What help is available for women and girls interested in tech field degrees?

It’s about location

Austin is ready for women ready for technology careers. The city boasts a site, Built in Austin, featuring more than 100 tech companies and startups; the latest news, jobs and corporate histories. The website lists hundreds of jobs in six tech categories, CEO profiles, weekend events, health and wellness and networking tips, with a separate section for women in tech.

It’s about education

Austin boasts three STEM-specific education centers: Girlstart, a year-round program for girls K-12, including summer camp, after-school programs and conferences in three locations; the Austin STEM Academy, a private coed preschool and the University of Texas, Austin STEM Master’s Degree Program. From tots to twenty-somethings, Austin offers STEM education for everyone.

It’s about mentoring

Women in STEM help other women get into the field. The mentor provides new hires with a sense that they not only belong in the field, they deserve and earned their place. And the more women in the tech field, the faster they replace the negative stereotypes.

It’s about recruitment

Corporate human resources note the lack of women in STEM positions, but few firms commit to actively recruiting women for these jobs. Women go where the corporate culture welcomes them and where they feel comfortable, even if it means not putting their degree to work. Partnerships between employers and colleges is one way to channel prospective employees from graduation to a good job. Austin offers a variety of “Welcome to the field” events, including “I Love STEM Day” for kids, WE17 (Women Engineers) Conference, and specialized grants and awards for STEM women and the work.

It’s about women and girls in groups

A mentor and a new tech hire are two people Get together with other mentors and new hires, and it’s a group. Austin has organized Meetup groups for general STEM and employees in mathengineering and computer tech fields. There’s more than strength in numbers; there’s knowledge shared, experience gained and friendships formed as well.

It’s about early empowerment

If a STEM preschool is not part of your child’s learning experience, there are other ways to stimulate the tech in them. Encourage their interest in STEM-related pursuits, including motor racing, building scaled-down models of familiar things, like a roller coaster, a bridge or a building and using math to solve real-world problems.

It’s about changing the cultural conversation

It goes back to stereotypes: that girls are not as smart as boys when it comes to math and science. Later, it’s women are too emotional to deal with it and science isn’t feminine.  The backlash isn’t obvious until years later, when smarter girls still defer to boys in school and later, graduate with degrees they don’t want, can’t pay for and would trade in a STEM second.

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