International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th and was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by a union of women hoping to raise awareness for their societal and work rights. Over a century later, many of their demands still remain in need of answers. Inequality has persisted over time and still impacts women’s careers, especially in the tech industry. A study mentioned by CNBC reveals one of every three women interviewed reported gender discrimination in the workplace. Also, other studies show that lack of retention strategies for female talents has caused half of women professionals to abandon their careers around the age of 35.
In Brazil, there is a long journey ahead as only 20% of tech positions are occupied by women. While the tech industry is booming with demand for new talent, women are disproportionately in these positions – an essential condition for the future of the market.
Increasing the female presence in the workforce would bring about innovation and improved communication. So much so that a study in the UK confirmed the national economy would benefit by a billion pounds annually if the number of IT female workers increased.
Today, women are united to overcome challenges imposed on their lives and careers. The more female presence in tech leadership, the more potential is unlocked and voices are heard. Pipefy, for one, is a company counting on the expertise of female leaders.
Bruna Griebeler, Engineering Director (Support and DevRel), sees a brighter future for women as she reflects on her 20 years in the field. Larissa Herbst, Product Design Manager, also believes the tech field has advanced since she began her career at a time when there were no female leaders. She is proud to now contribute to growing the careers and working with such inspiring women.
“Being a woman in the tech field has been a huge resilience test.”
For Isabelle Salemme, Developer Relations Coordinator, a tech career suits her because it is dynamic and requires continuous learning and self development. Pipefy’s lively atmosphere embraced her professional aspirations. Many women know the importance of female leaders supporting other women. Nicole Chirolli, Associate Product Manager, says this has made a positive impact on her own professional path in technology.
“Pipefy is an environment where I feel safe to be myself, but it hasn’t always been like this. And this is not a reality for many women.”
Even though the tech field has become increasingly promising for women, inequality is systemic because of how long women have not been included in the industry. Gender biases and misogynistic attitudes or remarks undermine and devalue women’s work even today.
Isabelle can recall a meeting where she brought up a work issue to her male coworkers and was dismissed for exaggerating the problem, despite substantiating her point with data. Nicole corroborates this experience and relates to many instances of “mansplaining”: when a man assumes they have to explain something to women in a simplistic way. In these situations, Nicole says she chooses to speak out to show other people how inadequate misogynistic comments or behaviors are. She regards her freedom to openly express herself as a fundamental condition for equality — as it should be.
“I’ve always breathed technology. And I was always the only woman (or one of the few women) in this environment.”
When looking into these complex scenarios, what does the future of technology hold? Which obstacles must be overcome for it to become equitable for all?
In addition to increasing the number of women hired by tech companies, it is crucial that the voices of female experts are no longer silenced. The future depends on the creation of safe places where women’s contributions can really benefit business and impact society instead of being dismissed. After all, as Larissa points out, women still have to exhaustingly defend their ideas and sometimes that isn’t even enough. Bruna agrees that women often have to provide twice as much evidence to defend their work, and that these biases need to end.
Another obstacle to be urgently overcome is closing salary gaps between men and women. Even though more women are starting tech careers, salary recognition is not keeping up with this growth. As if salary gaps were not enough, Bruna speculates that women still need to perform much more just to prove themselves in the workplace.
These challenges prove there is still a long way towards gender equality. Initiatives such as Pipefy’s Women ERG are a start at creating safe spaces for dialog in companies to raise awareness and responsibility about this issue.
“We need to see women in positions that inspire and represent us. If we don’t see other women in these positions, how can we know we can occupy them as well?”
Today, Larissa celebrates the company of inspiring women around her, which is quite different from the beginning of her career when she faced the discomfort of being the only woman in the tech workplace. Bruna regards it as essential to look for companies that promote gender equality and align with important values. By uniting their efforts, women continue to work towards a promising, innovative and egalitarian future, one that lives up to their potentials and talents.