CFOtech UK - Technology news for CFOs & financial decision-makers
Story image
IWD 2024: Women in tech leaders share challenges & solutions on this special day
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

In honour of International Women's Day, women leading tech companies across the globe have provided insights into the ongoing challenges faced by women in the industry and the possible solutions to get more women into tech.

Linh Lam, CIO at Jamf, emphasised the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech, underscoring the barriers she personally faced during her career, such as being mistaken as a junior team member despite running multimillion-dollar global programmes. "It's so important to bet on yourself. Everyone has their own unique skills and values, and you have to start somewhere," Lam said.

Moreover, Lam highlights the necessity of work models to adapt to women's unique circumstances and encourages more hybrid work options and flexible working hours. Expressing the gravity of this issue on a wider society level, she mentioned her daughter's all-girls robotics team and the need for young girls to be exposed to science and technology to ultimately envision a tech career as a reality.

Adela Racibor, Channel Manager at WithSecure, acknowledged the susceptibility of women in the industry to suffer from imposter syndrome or fear of challenging the status quo. She put a spotlight on the need for everyone in the industry to recognise their worth against any discriminatory attitudes they may encounter. "Bringing more women into the tech industry isn’t a problem of openness but more with the number of women actually applying to jobs," explained Racibor, referring to LinkedIn’s research showing that women were more likely to avoid applications for more senior and demanding roles due to their caregiving responsibilities.

Racibor called for organisations to ensure flexibility for women to thrive both in their personal and professional lives. She also suggested encouraging female speakers to share their experiences "as a human in tech", to avoid potentially strengthening existing divisions.

Dr Emma Walker, Principal Workforce Exercising SME at Immersive Labs, posited that giving women the confidence to pursue a tech career at all stages of their lives is a priority. "I always tell women to go for it and start a career in cyber," she said. "There are so many areas where diverse skill sets and knowledge bases can help advance the sector. We all have a place here."

She emphasised the critical need for cyber careers to be more flexible to meet women's various needs and the imperative for having more women holding senior leadership positions in the sector. Walker acknowledged the societal issues at play here and the necessity for increased engagement with schools and universities to promote apprenticeships and career opportunities while mitigating traditional barriers. She concluded by underscoring the need for businesses to show they value women in their workforce from recruitment to retention, development, and promotion, and to nurture inclusive work cultures that challenge stereotypes head-on.