Category: Women in Leadership, Gender Focus, International Women’s Day, Women In Technology, gender bias, women in IT, Capgemini, Gender Diversity, Gender-balanced, Female talent, Female representation, Female role models, Technology sector, Digital economy, #BreakTheBias
Leadership roles for women in the tech sector come with challenges, however, they can be overcome by employing a bold mindset
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength” – a quote by Geena Dunne Anderson (an Australian feminist writer) that summarizes the essence of International Women’s Day. We see this special day as an opportunity to revisit HER Story, a podcast series launched in Spring 2021 by Group CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility), presenting women role models from Capgemini who share their career journeys to highlight the lessons they learned and the wisdom they gained along the way.
A persistent gender gap in the tech sector
The truth is that women still encounter barriers in the tech sector, and the numbers show it. According to a 2021 Women in Tech report conducted by Trust Radius, 72% of women in tech have worked at a company where “bro culture” is predominant and have been outnumbered by men in meetings by at least 2:1; 78% of women in tech feel they must work harder than their coworkers to prove their worth and they are 4 times more likely than men to see gender bias as an obstacle to promotion.
In one of the podcasts as part of the HER Story series, Kaylene O’Brien, Managing Director at Capgemini Australia, explains how when she was involved in recruiting graduates many years ago there was a point where “the candidates were all male – this was way before any kind of diversity or inclusion programs.” She then volunteered on an industry body to encourage more women to study IT. Kaylene realized that “when there is an industry or systemic issue, understand it, get involved, be part of fixing it.” Our role is to remove barriers and create a more inclusive world.
Gender diversity underlies and intersects with other dimensions of diversity. At Capgemini, our key priority is to have more gender-balanced teams shaping our culture and developing the right solutions for our clients.
We support women along their path
Through our deep-dive analysis on gender diversity across the Group in 2020 we discovered a ‘broken rung’ phenomenon that erodes the possibility for women to reach managerial positions. This stark finding led to the development of “Project Nova”, aiming at growing a sustainable talent pipeline from within. Nova offers a combination of actions reinforcing self-confidence and career projection among women talents, through networking, coaching or mentoring initiatives, and providing support during key moments of their professional and personal life, with flexible work options.
The HER Story podcast initiative was part of the Nova action plan, giving further visibility to women leaders, that we will inspire both women at large as well as younger talents. From simply switching roles to altogether changing a career path and jumping into a different field, the women at Capgemini share the key moments that shaped their journeys.
Mel Ginever, Head of Spend Management for Global Group IT based in the UK, took part in a Leadership training program called ‘We Lead’ in 2020 (for 30 female pipeline leaders across the group). She says it was an emotional journey full of self-reflection and introspection that delivered key takeaways that she applied to her ways of working. “The more you put into these training programs, the more you will get out of them”.
It remains clear that women need to have courage to stand up in the crowd and actively grasp at opportunities that come their way.
Boldness – a virtue amongst women
Elizabeth Gage, Senior Manager at Capgemini America, brings up a valuable point. She participated in Capgemini’s Women’s Development Leadership course, and although she found it a valuable experience, she expresses how regardless of the training that you do “it’s better to just be you because that’s what’s going to feel more natural. When you bring that to the table, you’re more real”. It’s not always necessary to prove your legitimacy by an extra degree or certification and as a leader you don’t need to know everything. Taking accountability sets a good example for your team and an empathetic disposition helps with understanding people’s motivations. Foster this environment and practice what you preach. The more you give, the more you get. These are things that make an impactful, engaging, and inclusive leader.
Making progress is not always linear. The key is to remain in the learning mode, exploring new pathways at every turn. Be curious, passionate, and above all, enjoy what you do. Support for women is available but you need to be your own advocate with a sense of innate confidence; authentic and self-assured without waiting for anyone to validate you.
Capgemini – a destination of choice for all talents in tech
Women are key to shaping the future of the digital economy. Breaking biases, including their own biases, will propel women into the future at a rapid rate. At Capgemini we commit to increase the representation of women by reaching a minimum of 40% by 2025 in our workforce and 30% in leadership position roles. However, our ambition is not limited to become a company of choice for women in IT. Convinced that only diverse teams can deliver inclusive tech, as outlined in our 2021 CRI report, we stand by the principle that talent has no gender, age, race, nationality, or sexual orientation – diversity is key for a talented team and building the future we all want.
Over the past few months, we’ve put a lot of effort into preparing for International Women's Day. As difficult times have befallen us all, we recognize that now, more than ever, we must work together to uphold our values of unity, community, and fellowship.
In the spirit of uplifting and helping each other through these trying times, we would also like to highlight the efforts that have been made to support women in tech around the world and discuss the challenges that we still face.
For this International Women’s Day, we invite you to join us in our campaign to hashtag#BreakTheBias and rewrite the code. We have made considerable progress as a society, but we recognize that there is still a long way to go.
Togetherness is more important than ever if we want to hashtag#GetTheFutureWeWant.
Author: Karine VASSELIN
Group CSR - Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Capgemini
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