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Growing Female Talent in the Tech Workforce

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, is a celebration of progress and recognition of work that still needs to be done to advance women in business and society.

In an annual study produced by the World Bank titled “Women, Business and the Law 2021” the gender inequality amidst the global COVID-19 Pandemic is explored looking at eight key pillars.

The pillars are mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets and pension. The report analyses laws and regulations affecting women’s economic opportunities in 190 countries and shows promising results.

Results show that despite the difficulties of the global pandemic, many economies have made gender equality a priority. The results are encouraging with every region surveyed improving its average score.

Looking at the scoring in the index, countries ranked at 100 out of 100 show true gender parity across all eight pillars. Looking to the Sub-Saharan region over the past 50 years the region has seen a gain in more than 30 points.

The countries in Sub Saharan Africa with the highest scores are, Mauritius scoring 91.9 out of 100, South Africa scoring 88.1 out of 100 and Zimbabwe scoring 86.9 out of 100. However, the region shows huge variations in scores, with Sudan being ranked last with a score of 29.4 out of 100. Overall scores are encouraging, but progress still needs to be made in South Africa in areas like access to pensions and parenthood.

Progress can be made in organisations through setting achievable goals aimed specifically at addressing gender equality.

Accountable goals: 2030 Progress Made Real

Dell Technologies’ 2030 Progress Made Real report is built on ‘Advancing Sustainability’, ‘Cultivating Inclusion’ and ‘Transforming Lives’.  As part of its plan to drive societal change by the year 2030, it have set ambitious measurement targets for gender representation, pledging that by 2030, 50% of its global workforce will be those who identify as female.

Women empowerment starts with skills: STEM skills

Encouraging women and minorities to take part in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects to prepare them for STEM careers paves the way to a career in the Technology Industry. When it comes to delivering digital skills for the future workforce, Dell Technologies is rising to the challenge.

Initiatives such as Digital Futures also shows the power and efficacy of getting young people — especially girls — involved in conversations about tech early, while STEMAspire provides mentoring and support for women studying STEM subjects in university to support their transition from school to careers in technology after graduation.

Entering the workforce without bias or exclusion

Once women have completed their STEM education, they should be able to enter the workforce without bias or exclusion and this needs to be ensured through equitable recruitment.

As women and minorities continue to enter the workforce, they are facing several barriers driven by unconscious bias. Businesses that hire for “team fit,” for instance, may think they are building a cohesive company culture, but in fact, they are only making themselves less innovative and more homogenous.

From the exclusionary language in job postings to culturally prescribed notions of what “male” and “female” positions entail, unconscious bias works in subtle ways — and it carries a heavy price tag. The Kapor Centre calculated that turnover due to unfair and unequal treatment costs businesses $16 billion per year in employee replacement costs.

Once women have entered into the workforce in the technology field they should be empowered to apply their skills and grow, this can be done through mentorship and internal development programmes.

By Natasha Reuben, Head of Transformation at Dell Technologies South Africa

Edited by Jenna Delport
Follow Jenna Delport on Twitter

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