Katherine Johnson. Dorothy Vaughn. Mary Jackson. They were portrayed in the 2017 movie “Hidden Figures,” a biopic about the three women who played an essential role in one of the most daring endeavors of their time: sending an astronaut into orbit. The movie takes a deep dive into the roadblocks they faced as women of color in the ‘60s and how they overcame them.
Yet, although this story took place roughly 60 years ago, the obstacles that Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary faced are, to an extent, ones that women in the tech industry still encounter today. In fact, many experts would argue that we still have a long way to go in terms of adequate representation of women in tech. But how do we overcome this gap? Where do we start? The first step is to address the lack of women in tech as a whole.
Sticks and Stones
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but the words you use to describe job openings can hurt you. You may not realize it, but the copy you use in your job descriptions can have a subtle gender bias. Words like “competitive,” “hacker,” and “assertive” are terms that often dissuade women from applying. When creating and reviewing job descriptions, try to employ gender-neutral terms like “adaptable” and “motivated” that encourage both men AND women to apply.
Hire the Passion
One of the first steps toward hiring women in tech, or in any industry, is to look for the people who are passionate about what they do. These candidates are more willing to learn and adapt—qualities that will benefit your organization. If you look to hire individuals who are tech savvy and are looking to grow with the industry, you will definitely find women who fit that criteria.
Of course, to find them, you have to know where to look. Be targeted in your recruitment advertising. What media does the ideal candidate consume? In the tech world, there are a multitude of options, from Wired magazine to blogs, LinkedIn and other social media, and associations catering to their interests. Find the type of media that your ideal applicant spends time with and you will find a pool of ideal employees, male and female. With so many choices, however, you’ll want some help to weigh through the options. We’re always here to help you target your recruitment.