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Complementing rather than competing: A fresh take on gender equality

Gender equality in the workplace tends to be a very heated discussion. This usually overcompensates to either end of the spectrum. The constant competitive nature of this topic leaves a gap for growth, success, and collaboration.

Now, more than ever, we should shift the focus from competing to how we can complement each other as men and women. This will help us break gender biases.

The stereotypes about gender-specific roles stem from something far more profound than ‘who is best suited for the job.’ We underestimate the part that preconceived ideas, traditions, and cultural backgrounds play when it comes to gender equality. Our lack of understanding these factors has made it challenging to create teamwork and collaboration as it has nothing to do with skill. It tends to be more about who we are as a person first, rather than what we can contribute to the bigger picture.

When it comes to the world of technology and careers in IT, gender stereotypes are heightened. Statistics show that men in the industry still outnumber women. We need to acknowledge that a lot of progress has been made in the past few years. With this said, there is still a lot of work to do around gender parity in this sector.

Gender equality and our technology ecosystem

Technology currently supersedes mere coding and programming as it has become a key component in digital transformation and business growth strategies. It has permeated every facet of the business. The focus on automation and enriching the human experience is changing the way we live. This change calls for adjusting the way we think and do business in the technology sector. It calls for being creative and thinking outside of the box to break down the walls constraining gender parity.

The consensus remains that a skills shortage resides in the technology sector. One cannot help but wonder if this is due to the lack of women considering a career in IT or to the misconception around what it entails to work in technology. If it is the latter, there is an opportunity to create the awareness that there is room for the unique attributes that women bring to the table. The current gap in the market is an opportunity to attract a wider talent pool to technology.

PwC reports that 50% of women consider it essential that the work they do must have a broader impact and make the world a better place while only 31% of men agreed to this. This underpins why there is a need not only for men, but also for women in technology roles. By nature, men and women have different factors that they deem necessary in life and they apply that to their jobs at hand. Considering this, the impact of gender parity is far more significant than just a gap in skillset.

When we create technology products and services, the goal should obviously be to improve society. To do this, it is vital to have both men and women involved to have the balance of the relevant factors right.

Embracing a new workplace culture

We need to cultivate an inclusive culture and acknowledge the strengths and passion on an individual level of both men and women. It requires a focus on defining who will be the best team at getting the job done. In general, the technology ecosystem requires more initiatives that will provide an open forum that allows everyone to discuss the challenges and opportunities that exist in achieving this.

The change required in achieving the above, will be reliant on an ongoing commitment of individuals to change their mindset. A mindset focussed on seeking opportunities for complementing each other instead of competing. This mindset will enable IT professionals to become more accommodating to one another that will inevitably result in a positive change on organisational and profit levels. This will be the start of creating a culture of an outward mindset that will realise many benefits across the organisation.

All this is possible by combating gender equality through complementing rather than competing.

Article by Anri Keyser, FP&A Sales Executive at Decision Inc.

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