Tips for facing a lack of diversity in tech head on

26th August 2018 marks the 48th Women’s Equality Day. However, while many things have changed and progressed, when you look at FTSE 100 CEOs, you’re still more likely to find one called Dave than one that’s a woman. With that in mind, it’s clear there is still more to do to fully level the playing field. We spoke to a number of women who play leading roles in technology organisations about the tips that they recommend for solving the continuing diversity crisis.


In the eyes of Caterina Falchi, VP File Technologies at Cloudian, education is “central” to the continuing work to address diversity issues. “Our education system,” Falchi commented, “needs to attract more girls and young women to areas of study that can lead to careers in technology. Success in these areas will help build more momentum for an inclusive, fair and modern society.”

This is a process that has already begun to happen, and Falchi was optimistic that “growing equality awareness in the technology industry is helping women gain access to the same education, careers and progression opportunities as their male counterparts.” However the news is not all good. “Nonetheless,” she continued, “there is still much more to do.”

Corporate responsibility

It’s not just education in STEM that is so important. Marianne Calder, VP EMEA at Puppet, sees it as part of her organisation’s “philanthropic mission” to “support people and organisations that help underrepresented groups gain access to STEM opportunities.” One way to achieve this, that Puppet actively practices, is to provide opportunities for “sending women to conferences they otherwise couldn’t afford.”

Tara O’Sullivan, CMO at Skillsoft agrees: “Organisations need to create opportunities for their employees to develop STEM careers.” O’Sullivan went on to say that what was particularly important for this is role models. “Women who are in senior positions, in particular, should advocate for diverse recruitment and gender equality within their corporate environment. Cultural change tends to start from the top down.”

Changing policies

However, what matters most is changing policies and attitudes. Yumi Nishiyama, Director of Global Services at Exabeam spoke of her personal experience, saying “I have very successful female friends who are senior tech execs at their companies, but they have had to sacrifice many other parts of their lives to get where they are today.” Her solution? That companies need to “embrace policies that provide women in particular with benefits that allow a better balance with ‘life’, and don’t make a having a family or having a career mutually exclusive.”

O’Sullivan agreed, adding that “organisations need to change their attitude to rally behind female talent,” while Falchi concluded that “Employers must continue to evolve the corporate mindset, to eliminate the obvious inequalities and unconscious bias faced by women in the workplace, and to focus purely on talent, ability and experience.”

Not all organisations struggle with the cultural change needed to promote diversity. At Puppet, the transition seems well underway, with Calder stating that “promoting diversity and equality is part of the core that makes us who we are.” However, even with this optimism internally, she concludes that while “we are seeing more opportunities for women, there is certainly more work left to do.”

‘Early progress, but more left to do’ seems to be the theme of Women’s Equality Day 2018. The challenge falls predominantly to organisations, but there is also potential for change on an individual level. Nishiyama had the final word on the subject:

“While the playing field may not be exactly even yet, we’re heading in the right direction. It’s no longer necessary to wear a suit or act a certain way to be deemed successful. The resulting diversity in the workplace makes all involved so much richer. In short, the more we can encourage each other to embrace and enable success in one another, the better off we all are.”