By: Kelli Stewart, W2W Committee Member
It seems intuitive that the best strategy to draw more women into a diversity imbalanced field is to invite them in and lift them up. It’s logical. There are also some overtly aggressive strategies to encourage women to choose technology vocations. Motivated by good intention – the knowledge that diversity is vital to a healthy, growing company. In retrospect though, it makes more sense for those who have overcame and succeeded to light the path for others. Changing the narrative from inequality and harassment to success and opportunity creates a roadmap to the ultimate destination. There is a time for calling out unconscious bias- it’s the only way to increase consciousness and awareness. More importantly, though, we have recognize that efforts to create an inclusive, diverse leadership pool are working, and that we’re moving the needle; otherwise we may become a casualty of the quick-sand of the undesirable past.
I’ve framed this discussion with some very smart men and women in our industry and the theme consistently voiced is that of positivity and success over emphasis on negativity. In more than one conversation with women in leadership, they’ve acknowledged that women face discrimination all the time. Because that fact exists, the problem in itself can perpetuate if emphasis on the problem exceeds that of the energy put into getting the job at hand done, they feel. If outspoken about negativity, it draws negativity. Rather, better to lift up others with the message: “I’ve overcome, you can too” through example. It’s the best way to prove that it can be done. Out of forward thinking, progress is to be educed.
Mona Bushnell, a Business.com writer, references that the American Express annual report on Women-Owned Businesses states women own about 42% of businesses in the United States. That upward trend began in 1972 when women owned under 5% of US businesses. That statistic tells an amazing story.
The W2W community has embraced positivity and encouragement. Through their efforts, important conversations are occurring. Education and empowerment are creatively driving value for the entire RSPA membership. Our industry is mirroring progress, seeing more women assuming leadership roles as well as owning companies. October is National Women’s Small Business Month. Now would be a good time for us to look around and celebrate those women who share their talent within our industry. Bravo!
Bushnell, M. (2019, October 1). How to Celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month. Retrieved from Business.com