How Can More Women Become Leaders? Find a Mentor!

The data doesn’t lie: Women are a minority in the tech industry, even more so at the C-level. Want to buck the trend? Find someone to mentor you.

There’s no doubt that, in the last 100 years, women have come a long way in the United States. From winning the right to vote and then holding government offices, to expanding birth control rights and securing the right to equal pay, women have fought hard for what they always knew they deserved.

Even with all this progress, there are far fewer women than men working in every facet of the technology industry. According to The Channel Company research, females comprise only 11 percent of tech industry leadership.

How do we boost these numbers and see a more balanced ratio at the top? Mentorship!

There’s good news, though. We aren’t starting from scratch. The majority of both women and men polled acknowledge there’s a gender gap in the tech industry workforce, especially at the C-level. Plus, only 38 percent of men polled say they have a gender-balanced C-suite.

According to the data collected, the biggest factors keeping women from leadership positions are:

  • Concern that the position would require too much sacrifice
  • Lack of a clear path to get to those positions
  • Fear
  • Intimidation

If women feel uncomfortable talking about these obstacles, it’s unlikely they will learn how they can overcome them and grow.

But, a stunning 95 percent of men and women polled say mentorships have positive career impacts.

Here are the top takeaways from people who say they’ve benefited from a mentor or mentorship program:

  • They’ve learned to communicate and articulate ideas more effectively
  • They understand the importance of self-confidence and believing in themselves
  • They can assess big-picture concepts through the eyes of a leader
  • They know how to balance difficult conversations with productive coaching

Companies polled say they see the most success in achieving a gender-balanced leadership team when they facilitate mentorship programs, offer growth opportunities for women and provide training programs to help drive more women toward leadership positions. Even if your company doesn’t provide a formal program, seek out a willing member of your management team, male or female, that you feel comfortable discussing the skills and opportunities you need to climb that career ladder.

With small steps, we can all do our part to ensure a future where both men and women feel confident and prepared to go after senior leadership roles and shrink the gender gap in the tech industry workforce and beyond.

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