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Photo: John Schnobrich
It’s enlightening to see – an online search for women in technology brings up a heartening number of Women in Technology (WIT) organizations around the world that focus on supporting women who choose a career in tech. Created by women, for women, these groups are an excellent resource for support and to break down the barriers that women in the tech sector face.
Even though there have been huge breakthroughs in women working in tech, there’s still more we need to do. A recent study done by The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship through Ryerson University in Toronto shows a discouraging statistic: women in Canadian tech jobs who have a bachelor’s degree or higher are still earning $20,000 less annually than men. A statistic like that certainly puts things into prospective – women in Canada are being left behind.1
WIT organizations allow women to put the spotlight on themselves as they work towards more awareness and acceptance in the male centric tech industry.
What a WIT Network Can Do For You
The main mission of WIT is to provide a place for women to share ideas, gain support, and make valuable contacts with other women in the tech industry. They gain encouragement from other women who are either already working in tech or who are just as focused as they are on getting there.
- Share Ideas and Stories
There’s something wonderfully inspirational about listening to the success stories and ideas of other women in the tech industry. Women can talk about how they got their dream tech job, how to advance further with the one they’ve got, or discuss what it’s like balancing a career and family. The goal behind sharing ideas and stories is to connect as women, knowing that one small thing you say may have a positive impact for someone else on their own journey.
Networking groups are just that – a good place to network and let others know that you’re looking for a job in tech. You’ll hopefully get job leads and boost your opportunities for employment. Networking is all about being part of the conversation, asking for advice, and building relationships with other women in tech.
- Women Mentoring Women
Successful women who are already working in a tech career can be great leaders and mentors to other women of all ages who want to work in a technology based job. Mentors can help others who are still in college or university explore their interests and opportunities in tech. They can offer guidance when it comes to maneuvering through what is predominantly a male focused industry. Being a mentor, and encouraging and supporting other women, is one way that we can empower women everywhere to reach for their goals without any limits.
Mentorship programs are available through many WIT organizations. They pair up protégés and mentors for a one-on-one program for personal growth and development with a focus on the technology industry. If you’re a protégé this is a great way to open up your career path in tech. And if you’re an experienced professional, mentoring is just as rewarding, as you empower women and give them the guidance and knowledge they need to succeed.
Interact Through Workshops and Events
Even if you’re not ready to join a network, take advantage of the many workshops and events hosted by WIT and other tech organizations around the country.
Not all workshops and events need to be tech-focused – they can cover a wide variety of topics that educate, inspire, and connect women in tech. As an example, a search of upcoming events aimed for women in technology includes:
- The Power of Advice: What Have You Learned?
- The Women in Blockchain Canada
- Women in FinTech
- How to stand out and gain experiences for career advancement
- Ignoring the Imposter Syndrome
WIT Groups in Canada
Throughout the country there are numerous organizations dedicated to supporting women in technology.
This Vancouver based organization was founded by professional women in 2016 with a focus on “supporting the advancement of women working in the technology sector”. VanWIT provides education, networking, and mentorship for women, helping them succeed in the Vancouver tech community.
- Women in Technology – W.I.T.
Located in Toronto and using Meetup to connect with members, Women in Technology discusses tech-related topics all the way from server technology to consulting solutions – all in a social setting that allows women to meet and share their knowledge.
- WinSETT Centre
The WinSETT Centre (Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades, and Technology) is a Canadian non-profit organization whose aim is to advance women in SETT across the country. Their vision: “A world where women participate fully in science, engineering, trades, and technology”.
Closing the Gender Gap in Tech
Closing the wide gender gap in the tech sector means helping women and girls of all ages by giving them the education, support, and training they need not only in IT but in all STEM fields. Networking is just one of the ways that we can empower and encourage women and girls to pursue careers in these areas.
When women have their own community where they can share ideas and resources, they have the unique opportunity to develop strategies both as a whole and as individuals to follow their career choice and make it a successful reality.
Women still have a long way to go when it comes to leveling the playing field with men in the tech industry. Sharing skills, strengths, and values as women in tech is empowering and productive. And networking with other women and supporting each other through challenges is one of the best ways that we can create a real change.
1Deschamps, T. (2019, January 23). Women in Canadian tech jobs earn $20K less than men, study says. The Canadian Press. Retrieved on April 07, 2019 from https://globalnews.ca/news/4878200/women-canada-tech-industry-pay-gap/