The tech space insanely tilts towards the male species. It is so much so that successful women in tech are a type of a unicorn. The biases are unimaginable, and the tech space is almost devoid of women. In fact, this has been partly blamed on the sexism that is characteristic of the industries that have to do with the STEMS. Reports indicate that women in tech and other STEM industries would almost never land top positions despite their abilities or top performances.
Nevertheless, there are smart hacks for women in tech that will ensure the scales are at least balanced for them to compete. Here are 5 strategies:
1. Big dreams:
Your dreams should be able to scare you and those around you. Women still get too hung up on the possibility of their ideas working out. There’s NO point of skimping on the plausibility of your great ideas. Getting armed with facts and figures may seem like a great defense for your ideas. However, it can quickly take your focus from your vision to the existing reality. You don’t want to come out as a minimalist. In fact, pitching yourself as a risk-taker will surely attract the interest of potential investors.
2. Surprise Vs. Promise:
Conventional wisdom declares that we ought to under-promise and then over-deliver. However, recent research shows that you don’t score any extra cookie points if you deliver what you promise. In fact, that also goes for exceeding expectations. Women in tech and other such industries already feel like they have to go the extra mile to impress. Therefore, the element of surprise would make for a better strategy than the old promise-deliver norm. Don’t make any promises. Just surprise everyone with some dazzling results.
3. Gather your allies, sponsors, and resources:
Remember, allies and sponsors are not to be confused with mentors. ‘Girl power’ and other ‘female support’ groups are useful on the journey to the top. Successful women constantly cite them as one of the key ingredients of their accomplishments. However, sponsors and allies are the people who are sold on your abilities and ideas. They speak on your behalf in boardrooms and advocate for your ideas in your absence. Ask someone out for a cup of coffee to discuss your ideas in a more laid-back environment and win them over.
4. Brag away:
Male peers in tech seemingly find it easier to blow up the trumpets about their accomplishments as compared to the ladies. Culturally, women as ‘supposed’ to come off as humble. Therefore, they mostly stay quiet and work their skins off to produce more and hope for a promotion. Of course this almost always never materializes, and they are mostly passed over.
The idea of boasting might be a bit unsettling for you. Therefore, you can do it in writing. Shoot out an email to your boss detailing the accomplishments of the team, highlighting your role in all the outcomes.
5. Assertive Vs. Aggressive:
Women in tech tend to get sucked into the various teams in the workplace. It is not uncommon to find yourself as the only woman in the room. So, when you or your team is suddenly put in the spotlight, you may, in defense, instinctively respond with aggression. The trick is to have a balance between your natural social grace and a thick skin to stand up for yourself.
Women are generally perceived to lack entrepreneurial traits. Therefore, these strategies will just about help to counter such anecdotal perceptions. Remember, the main hurdle is to neutralize all the presuppositions and perceptions that pile up the odds against you.
We would love to hear from you. Would you share with us your experiences in the comments section?