What You Need to Know About Managing Women in Tech

By Mike Elgan Print this article Print
women in technology

Women have joined the tech field in smaller numbers than men, are less likely to stay in the field, are promoted less often and are less likely to be satisfied.

That causes fewer women to major in tech-related fields and even fewer to seek employment in engineering and other similar careers. The small number of technology-focused professional women who do enter the workforce are forced by their extreme minority status to conform to a male-dominated culture—all of which reinforces the lie.

As a manager, you need to know that your male tech employees have been indoctrinated in The Big Lie, and many believe it. Your female tech employees also have been indoctrinated, and many believe it. And you have been indoctrinated, and even you may believe it.

The Big Lie is catastrophically harming the careers and lives of women by impairing their competitiveness, progress and success. It's also holding back your team, your department, your company and your industry from reaching their full potential.

Unfortunately, the problem is far too large and far too pervasive for any simple solution. However, as a manager of people who are in, use or make technology, you can play a role that benefits yourself, your company and your employees.

Simply remember the one thing you need to know about managing women in technology fields. Whenever a woman on your staff is passed over for promotion, or gets a bad review, or doesn't get a raise, or has a conflict with a co-worker, or is disengaged, non-participatory or detached from her work, always ask yourself: What is The Big Lie's role in this?

Of course, both men and women vary in their abilities, knowledge, skill and work ethic. Sometimes a man gets hired or promoted because he's more qualified, experienced or skilled than the woman who gets passed over. But sometimes it happens because of The Big Lie.

As a manager of technology people, it's your job to understand the nature of The Big Lie and prevent it from leading to bad decisions, lost opportunities and unfair management.

This article was originally published on 2014-11-18
Mike Elgan is a Silicon Valley-based columnist, writer, speaker and blogger. Go here for more: http://elgan.com/
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