Ireland has a vibrant tech and innovation sector, but growth is often constrained by availability of skilled workers. Women are less likely to study STEM subjects, and they are also more likely than men to drop out of STEM careers. But why?
Ireland has a vibrant tech and innovation sector but growth is often constrained by availability of skilled workers. All the more reason to make the most of those we have, but while women are less likely to study STEM subjects they are also much more likely than men to drop out of STEM careers.
Hardly surprising when the discredited notions like “men are innately better at maths” persist when you just want to get on with your job.
So how can you as an employer change this in your organisation? Reading Accenture’s When She Rises We All Rise 2018 Getting to Equal Research is a good place to start, but here are some tips to help. Good luck!
1. Audit your organisation to see if what you think is going on is what’s really going on:
- board representation of women
- role models inside the organisation
- gender balance at various grades
- the gender pay gap
- retention of women in technical roles
- perceived discrimination – how does it feel to the women who work there?
2. Set targets for improvement with board level accountability and share them outside the organisation
3. Monitor your organisation regularly to see if targets are being met, and if not, why not.
4. Change how you recruit by:
- removing gendered language from job ads
- advertising with payscales to help close the gender pay gap
- removing identifying information from CVs being reviewed
- using gender/diversity quotas for candidates called for interview
5. Make women visible
This should be at meetings, conferences, in publications, on panels, at awards, grants, as sources for journalists, online.
6. Review meetings and how they work.
Have clear standing orders, clarify expectations about who attends, why and what people are expected to contribute. Make sure chairs ask all to speak. You don’t want to repeat the famous Punch cartoon “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”
7. Look at work allocation
e.g. do women get all the co-ordinating or teaching roles and men all the research or managerial roles?
8. Ensure flexible working policies are available to both women and men
Include virtual/remote working as well as flexible working hours.
9. Use initiatives like bonuses for the initial period of post-maternity leave return to work to improve retention.
The cost will be offset by savings on recruiting and training replacements.
10. Invest in a women’s network
Ensure the network is open to women and men, or join an external network like Women in Technology and Science (WITS).