This question was posed as a candidate question for panel I spoke on earlier this month:
“What are some actions organizations can do to help balance recruiting and hiring efforts for women in technology?”
It was never asked during the panel, but I frequently get requests like this for what people and organizations can be doing to hire more women, create more diverse teams, and create a welcoming, inclusive culture. Here are my initial thoughts and suggestions:
First and foremost, get involved in your tech community. Go to meetups and user group meetings. Attend local conferences. Listen to what people there are saying. Learn more about what they are learning about. Get to know them as people. And be genuine about it. You don’t have to sponsor an event or a conference to get involved.
Re-Evaluate Job Descriptions
Re-evaluate your job descriptions for gendered language. When you say “rockstar,” “ninja,” or “guru,” you’re turning a lot of people away, regardless of gender, who are probably more than qualified. Additionally, these words actually have negative connotations.
Re-evaluate the imagery you use on your website. And don’t just pick out the first stock photo that contains a woman at a computer. Use photos of your own (diverse) team.
Hire a Female Recruiter
Hire a female recruiter. Women have built their networks, they are connectors, and they want to help other women build their careers.
Grow Your People
Hire interns, apprentices, and entry-level positions. If you don’t hire and grow these people, your competitors will. And likely they’ll also retain those people because they spent time on them.
Focus on more Than Gender
Diversity is so much more than gender. If we don’t make room for everyone at the table, we end up building naive products targeted at people like ourselves.
Address the Culture
Address culture issues before they even start by establishing an inclusive, respectful culture even when you are a company of only one or two members.
No Quick Fix
Remember that there is not a quick fix. These problems have been affecting our culture in many forms for centuries.
What actions are you and your organization taking to create change?
Republished with permission from the 612 Software Foundry blog. Jenna Pederson is the founder of 612 Software Foundry, helping small businesses and startups with technical strategy and implementation. She is also passionate about creating a welcoming and supportive tech community for Twin Cities tech women. Since early 2014, Jenna has run the Twin Cities chapter of the Geekettes. She facilitates workshops, networking events, and the Twin Cities first all-women hackathon, HackTheGap.MN.