Why Women in Technology Should be Self-Assured
Two female JPMorgan Chase technologists explain why creating your own opportunities will pay off in the long run.
In this series we dig into gender diversity in technology, advice from women who have succeeded in the industry, and why equality is essential in the workplace.
Women only represent 25% of today’s technologists. And the road to 25% has not been easy. In the previous sections of this series we received advice from female leaders in tech on key topic areas like confidence, team dynamics and speaking up. We also discussed the role leadership has to play in ensuring that the workplace remains unbiased.
But the women who have succeeded in technology know that they are essential to their organizations. They represent a different way of thinking, which makes them incredibly valuable.
According to Bill Wallace, Head of Digital, Consumer and Community Banking at JPMorgan Chase, having women on technology teams is not nice-to-have, it’s essential for customer-facing companies, like banks, to build competitive technology products.
“We are all serving a customer base or business that’s gender diverse, so if you don’t have a diverse team, then you won’t build the best products,” he says.
To conclude this series, we sat down with two female senior global technology experts to discuss why it sometimes takes more than just speaking up at meetings and having confidence in your skills. Women also need to be self-assured and stand their ground, when they see opportunities to change behavior or team culture.
Isa Cunha, Vice President, Service Now Program, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
"When I started in a leadership role years ago, it was a very male-dominated environment, where I was only one of a couple of women in the room. I remember one of my first managers would shout instructions and comments from across the room to me like, 'you're a tough cookie, you can handle it.'
One day I approached him and said I didn't appreciate how he shouted at me, and he was very apologetic. It was a real wake-up call for him, and a learning experience for me. What I got out of it, was that no matter how hard it might be to confront people, it's important to be up-front and honest."
Sarada Vempati, Executive Director, Corporate Technology, Bangalore, India
"I was very often the only woman in my Master's classes at university. When we worked on group projects, the guys typically formed teams with their male friends, and left me out. And even when I was in a team there would still be many times when they would watch a ball game till late in the night and then go to the lab to work on the project, thinking that it was too late to 'disturb' me. I realized that if I wanted to be heard, I had to be comfortable being assertive. Men will often think that a woman is being aggressive if she's assertive, but I have learned to accept that.
I advise women to take risks and opportunities [as they come], even if they don't think they are 100 percent ready for them."