Written by Jarret Moses, Infusionsoft
Technology has been used as a truly universal conduit for positive change. It has literally given a voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless; However, even with all technology has done for us, we have only scratched the surface. All things, even nature, search to find equilibrium. The world of technology is no different, thus it is imperative that as an industry we foster, nurture, and maintain female engagement to bring balance to our male centric workforce.
We can only solution for the issues we see, and we see the world from the vantage point of experience. Given our current male/ female imbalance, we are consistently trying to solve problems with only half of the equation. At the end of the day, a bunch of guys solve guy problems. When people start new companies or lead the charge for change at an established one, they are looking to solve problems meaningful and important to them. Just like Scott and Eric Martineau founded Infusionsoft to solve a problem dear to them, amazing women like Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, solved problems relevant to their experience. They saw problems, (some of which had existing solutions), and crafted thriving, competitive alternatives. We need more, varied technologies to deepen our capacity for change. Without more women solutioning, our efforts remain shallow, at best.
It takes a certain level of fearlessness and strength to venture into a world sometimes devoid of anyone who looks like you or shares your perspective on the world. The next generation is always watching and learning from the previous. We are the role models of tomorrow’s leaders – the mentors of the inventors of the next big thing, but we are not reflective of all those who look to us. When taking a journey of a thousand miles, you want to talk to someone who has taken that journey. As today’s girls are looking at technology and searching for a role model, they have a much harder time than their male peers. The gender disparity creates a cyclical problem which contributes to a lack of women in tech. This must stop.
We need to disrupt norms and cycles which discourage girls from growing into leaders. While Lean In has brought this issue to the forefront, we must carry this conversation. We must break our habits of discouraging girls from tackling difficult problems or under emphasizing their intellect and substituting it with vanity.
Ironically, it starts by looking in the mirror. Imagine if a co-worker told you their daughter was pursuing science and math hobbies or seeking out leadership roles in her community. We would be happy to hear this, and perhaps note that girl is extraordinary. That feeling of glee we feel, is in actuality, abnormal normality. We should be working to create a world in which that glee and pride is no different than if her brother had the same interests. Our industry must create a vision of the world for girls which shows them women and men are equally apt to solve difficult problems, lead, and create a better tomorrow for everyone.
The heart of our industry is powered by problem solving. Women having a larger share in the problem discovery and solutioning process will create a brighter future for everyone. The solution is attainable and we all need to take a stake reaching it.