Home » Women in STEM » Why we want to encourage more women into the tech sector

Nisha Mallesh

Engineering Manager, Groupon

Rosie Maguire

Technical Recruiter EMEA, Groupon

The Irish Central Statistics Office highlighted that women hold under 25% of tech roles. So, it is not surprising that Ireland is falling behind the European average on the number of women studying STEM subjects.

Less women study STEM, less roles are filled by women, there are no tech role models to help reshape the future. It’s therefore essential that industry works to help make STEM subjects more appealing to women and develop the necessary policies to support them through their careers.

Encouraging equality

Nisha Mallesh — Engineering Manager at global e-commerce marketplace, Groupon — aims to encourage more women into tech careers. “I’m from Bengaluru, India, and my university had a 50:50 ratio of male to female engineering graduates. I was surprised when I moved to Ireland to see such a lack of female representation in the tech industry. This inspired me to do something about it.” That included kickstarting the company’s Women in Tech (WIT) group.

Businesses must also assess their recruitment strategy — ensuring the industry is more diverse, inclusive and free of gender bias.

Showing initiative for women

The WIT group gives female tech employees a platform to increase their visibility and showcase their skills. It’s also a place where employees can talk about vulnerabilities and get immediate support. Monthly sessions on a variety of topics, from negotiating salaries to tackling imposter syndrome are key programme elements and engaging with male allies and non-tech colleagues to drive awareness and combat bias.

Supporting female workforces

The company also launched a women’s leadership programme — identifying future leaders, providing them with training and mentorship. They relaunched six Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)s – including Women@Groupon – that focus on four key areas: culture, business, talent and community. WIT is starting a mentorship programme, plus a school and college roadshow to bring young people into the office for tech workshops.

“It’s important for those women forging the tech path to put themselves forward as role models, helping future generations to understand the career paths that are open to them,” says Mallesh.

Reshaping recruitment strategy

Businesses must also assess their recruitment strategy — ensuring the industry is more diverse, inclusive and free of gender bias. Rosie Maguire, Technical Recruiter EMEA at Groupon and WIT group member, has been working on this challenge. “We train hiring managers on biases in algorithmic tools, we introduced a gender bias disrupting tool so that job descriptions are free from biased vocabulary, and we measure diverse candidate slates for all open positions, just to name a few,” she says.

“We see these as non-negotiable building blocks and a great foundation from which to develop the best possible talent here, regardless of gender.”

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