Calling All Women in IT: Are You Driving a More Inclusive Workplace?

October 19, 2021

Try these four strategies to further inclusion in the workplace and bolster the role of women and other underrepresented groups in IT.

“Do you feel that you’re getting what you’re worth? Do you feel that you’re paid what you're worth? Do you feel that you’re being offered opportunities that reflect what you are worth? Do you feel like you’re being evaluated fairly for what you are worth?” 

Christie Struckman, VP Analyst, posed these critical questions to the “Women and Diversity in Leadership” session at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ 2021 conference.

Learn more: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resource Center

“You probably answered no to at least one of those questions,” she added, before providing insight into ways that women can help to create a more inclusive work environment — by fighting for their worth, whether that's demanding pay equity, career opportunities or more inclusive and productive day-to-day interactions. 

Women comprise just 28% of people who work in IT; women of color account for only 2%. Gartner has four strategies for women committed to developing their own IT careers, as well as pathways for anyone in a segment that is under-represented in IT. 

No. 1: Build a community 

Build a supportive community that includes many different people, but features four key roles: 

  • Coach. To help group members develop specific skills or competencies, such as reading data or presenting information.
  • Mentor. To help navigate career options and decisions. Consider tapping mentors from outside the organization. 
  • Ally. To provide support in challenging situations. For example, in a hiring situation it might be someone who says, “I’ve noticed we don’t have any female candidates. Is that something we can look into?” 
  • Sponsor. To advocate for others — expending their own political capital to further the careers of others.

No. 2: Manage your personal brand 

If you’re still thinking about your career as a ladder and you’re trying to figure out how to climb to the next rung, it’s time to change mindsets. Consider your career in terms of purpose. Your purpose is a combination of what you love to do, what you’re good at and what you’re paid well to do.

Identify where you enjoy spending time and where you’ve been praised for good work. This can be a specific task like fundraising for a specific cause or the way in which you work, such as your approach to analyzing data. The key is to use purpose as a basis for your brand and to choose your career path accordingly.

No. 3: Fix pay inequity

Consider these three ways to further pay equity. 

  1. Educate on negotiations. Sixty percent of women have never negotiated their pay. If you’re in a position to coach other women on this skill, do so.

  2. Pay equitably for like roles. If you are in control of pay, be clear and open about paying equitably. 

  3. Resolve data, method and technology. Leaders are often frustrated by the lack of data on pay. IT leaders are in a position to partner with other business leads and provide better data — for example, in a salary audit. 

Read more: 3 Actions to More Effectively Advance Underrepresented Talent

No. 4: Confront marginalizing behaviour

Behaviors that marginalize women can include anything from ageism to pet names to over-explaining and gender-biased language. These may not rise to the level of being reported to HR, but they are relentless behaviors that add up throughout a job or career. Call out these behaviors if and when you see them in meetings or in the workplace.