I read articles about women in business and women in tech all the time. Over time I have grown to have my own opinions on the matter. I have read online about how we as a country need to work on keeping women staying in the workforce. The answer to staying in the workforce as well as getting more women into tech might just be about feeling comfortable and accepted. Feeling comfortable and accpeted by others around you leads to confidence.
There is an emphasis on 2 things that come up with women and business.
1. Getting more women into the tech space.
2. Getting more women to stay in the workforce in general.
Both of thse problems could be broken down to one simple feeling that we all can impact at our workplaces. Helping women feel comfortable and accepted will lead to higher confidence levels in women which will in turn lead to more women wanting to stay in the workforce as well as wanting to work in technology. That is if we specifically as women working in tech can make new women coming into tech and startups feel comfortable, accepted, and confident.
Feeling comfortable and feeling accepted in the workplace is important for feeling motivated and feeling confident as a contributor. From what I have read other women seem to feel this way as well. After starting to think about these concepts I noticed that women at my office definitely feel this way. Women at HubSpot stick together and help each other feel comfortable. They are a support network for each other every day at work, and even out of work. If we want more women in tech and want more women to stay in tech then we need to make women feel comfortable at all stages of their career and lives.
It seems like women seem more comfortable working with other women. This is not a fact that I am stating here but it is something that I have seen can help women feel more comfortable and confident professionally. Confidence is a direct effect of feeling comfortable and accepted in your workplace. Both of these things can lead to women staying in tech and women staying in business longer.
Women who work together, stay together. And will end up staying longer at their company.
At HubSpot I work in sales. On the sales team we have what are called BDRs or business development reps. They are entry level sales reps who Sales Reps work with and help teach them how to become sales reps one day. When I think about all the BDRs that I have had over the time I have been here the ones who didn't do well or who didn't stick around just so happen to be men. Is this a coincidence or is this something I should see as a trend...? The ones who did do well in the role over the 4 years I have been doing this were women. I don't know if this theory of mine is correct but it seems to be somewhat of a trend. It seems like women who work together might lead to women feeling more comfortable and therefore the confidence level goes up. When you have both of those things it could help the women want to stay working longer because of that supportive mentality they get from other women around them.
I like working with other women. I actually prefer it and talk about it openly at work. I think people around me know that too. I have talked about how one day I would love to manage an all women's sales team. I think that would be awesome!
All of the BDRs that I have worked well with who have also been women are the ones that did really well in the role. I feel like I personally do better working closely with women and felt like when I worked with men as BDRs they didn't do as well. Rather the women who were BDRs working with me always have done well... I like working with other women because I feel comfortable coaching and being caoched by other women. I feel like I understand women and they understand me. Men and women are just different so sometimes the work environment between a man and woman is different than what it is like between two women.
Specifically when it comes to sales jobs confidence is a huge factor of whether you will be good at your job. Working with other women in a sales capacity has been a great thing for me because it helps me with my confidence. We are aware of each others challenges and we are aware of what it is like to be a woman in sales. All of these things can help us to work better together and help us to grow in our jobs as women working in tech.
Support groups are something that women always talk about needing to have in the workplace. If you naturally work with other women you will have that women's network effect and you will naturally start to feel more comfortable. Women who work together become each other's support group.
Overtime you will likely become friends with the women you work with. You will learn to trust each other. You will want to help each other. You will be each other's biggest supporters. People around you at the office will start to see how you have built this internal network of women and they will see that it works well. From there your office will start to put together more opportunities for women to work together in the future.
Start small and make changes in your workplace to enable women to feel more comfortable by naturally just supporting each other. Over time this will lead to more confident women who feel more accepted in general at your office. Work together as women to make small changes today that will impact the future of how women perceive working at your company.