Inclusivity in the Tech Industry: Women on the front lines of change

November 03, 2021

There has been a lot of discussion around the rise of low-code/no-code solutions and recent market trends that shape the future of enterprises. While democratizing app development, the low-code/no-code approach has the potential to address one of the most pressing issues in the tech space—inclusivity. This was one of the topics of conversation during the Women in Tech Circle held at Creatio’s Low-code Marathon. Katherine Kostereva, CEO and Founder of Creatio, Rebecca Wettemann, CEO and principal of Valoir, Lori Seal, CEO of Blytheco, and Aina Neva Fiati, Managing Director of iSystem Asia, gathered to share their point of view on the emerging revolutionary technologies, what it means to be a woman in the tech industry, and hopes for upcoming change. Below is a short synopsis of the discussion. 

“Closed Clubs”: Challenges for women in tech

About 47% of women account for all employed adults, however, only 25% currently hold tech roles in the US. Furthermore, only 18% of CIO positions are held by women. The technology sector is still far from being inclusive. Most women in tech struggle to advance in their careers and tend to remain in STEM, tech educational programs or entry-level jobs.

The barrier to higher entry is guarded by who you know. Networking is a necessary part of living in a programming environment, and women are often excluded from the “closed clubs” that are reserved for their male colleagues. Being “the only one” in the team is still a common experience for many women in the male-dominated field. At the senior management level positions, around 40% of women say that they are often the only woman in meetings. The lack of female representation brings a vast bulk of obstacles to the overall technological advancements as it requires a diversity of opinions, skills, and approaches.  

 Gender inequality in the technology sector: There is room for change

Systematic exclusion from well-deserved career growth discourages many female professionals from trying to attain the same position as their male counterparts. Being too afraid to ask for what they deserve, women often end up not getting past entry-level positions. Low-code and no-code platforms bring new opportunities to women because they change the community around programming rather than changing the programming itself. This cultural, technological and societal shift encourages employers to be more open-minded. In turn, digital and tech professionals begin to value skills and abilities and be less mindful of gender.  

“In the low-code world, no one cares where you are and who you are. They care about your expertise, your knowledge, and your willingness to contribute and help others in the community” — Rebecca Wettemann 

A 2020 analysis by Mercer showed that every new step of career advancement in the tech industry has a lower percentage of women involved: women constitute 47% of support staff, 42% of professionals, 37% of managers, 29% of senior managers, 23% of executives, and only 17% of board members. The rise of low-code and no-code solutions can change this status quo and improve conditions for everyone, including women, in the workplace.

The changing business landscape brings new requirements to software developers worldwide. Coding is no longer the only skill necessary to succeed; flexibility and adaptability have roles to play as well. A new world of software development will not tolerate coders who are immune to change.

Workplace diversity is key to skill variety

Working with low-code and no-code tools requires a combination of well-developed hard and soft skills. A variety of emotional intelligence competencies such as inspirational leadership, conflict management and teamwork, however, are key to building and strengthening long-term relationships between software developers, business leaders and citizen developers to improve the overall success of technical initiatives inside companies.

“It’s not just about being in the backroom and programming. It’s about tailoring software to help companies get the job done, and a lot of that is changed management, envisioning elegant solutions, and functional design. And those skills, in my mind, are more critical to helping companies leverage technology than just hardcore coding” — Lori Seal 

Workplace diversity ensures that a variety of skills is present amongst teams. “Thanks to the low-code technology, we maybe can have more women involved as citizen developers” — Aina Neva Fiati 

Balance is key: Life and the office 

Katherine Kostereva, Rebecca Wettemann, Lori Seal, and Aina Neva Fiati also give valuable advice not only to women in the tech industry but to everyone struggling to balance their personal and work life. All four women agree that it is important to accept doing the best you can as enough without adding too much pressure and stress to an already overstimulating lifestyle. But it does help to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: a world where everyone can be a developer. It is not only a low-code or no-code revolution; it is an entire cultural shift.

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