I love celebrations and this one feels big; Lady Bird Talent is turning one! The first anniversary of our launch is August 26th, Women’s Equality Day. Twelve months ago, we set out to build community, support women’s careers, and ultimately connect women to tech and leadership jobs where they can thrive.
In the past year, we’ve collectively experienced the global pandemic, the onset of the she-cession, a complete transformation of remote work, record numbers of burn-out for women, and The Great Resignation.
With the odds stacked against them, the women in our community have persevered with unbelievable resilience. We’re proud as hell to stand behind them in the work ahead.
As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and Lady Bird Talent’s first anniversary, it’s important to remember that today, 101 years after the adoption of Amendment 19, not every American woman is experiencing equality at work.
Data on Women in the Workplace
Tech lags behind other sectors when it comes to hiring women. The five largest tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) only have a workforce of about 34.4% women, while women make up 47% of all other job sectors.
Women of color are even less represented in the tech industry. Black and Hispanic women are less likely to be hired for a tech position than their white colleagues and hold only 12% of all the roles women hold in tech.
COVID-19 disrupted every aspect of our lives, and work was no exception. The pandemic has been especially devastating to women in tech leading to tremendous amounts of burnout.
57% of women said, “I feel more burned out at work,” while only 36% of the men said the same in a recent TrustRadius survey. This study also found that more women have taken on additional responsibilities than their male counterparts and were two times more likely than men to have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic.
In mid-2020, we saw the unemployment rate for women rise to 16.2%, which is the highest it has been since 1948 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began gender-disaggregating data. Many are referring to this crisis as a “she-session.” Women who work full-time and have a partner and children are typically spending 20 more hours per week on unpaid labor like housework and caregiving than men in the same situation. When the pandemic caused childcare facilities and schools to close their doors, that burden fell on women and many had to leave the workforce.
For women who were able to maintain employment through this time of crisis, we haven’t seen much progress to greater gender equality at work in the past year. Women in tech are twice more likely than men to say gender inequality worsened at their place of employment in 2020.
Women only make 82 cents for every dollar men make. Experts also think this gap was worsened by the pandemic because we know layoffs and pay cuts disproportionately affected women.
Even before the pandemic, women have had a very difficult time getting hired for an entry-level tech job, or if they are hired, they are less likely to be promoted than men. Experts call this barrier the “broken rung.” You could also call it the “sticky floor.” No matter what you call it, it’s unacceptable.
Doing Our Part
We have a lot of work to do to make a change for women in the tech industry. Despite all the discrepancies we’re up against, I am optimistic about the momentum toward equity.
We’ve spent the last year working with early-stage tech companies and connecting with hundreds of professional women. Here is what we are seeing.
Founders care about bringing women into their teams. We’ve partnered with forward-thinking startups from coast to coast who are dedicated to bringing gender diversity to their teams. When they hire women, they offer pay parity, advancement opportunities, and market-rate compensation, both in cash and equity.
Early hires matter. These startups are intentionally filling key roles with women that are cultural beacons to their companies. As they grow their teams from the ground up, there are women at all levels of decision-making, creating a work environment where women are supported.
Women are driving change. The team at Lady Bird Talent has daily conversations with women who are raising their hands to make major career moves into leadership roles. They know their worth and are advocating for it.
When we look back over this busy yet fulfilling year, we are proud to say that our efforts may have contributed to some very positive changes in the entire sector.
The pandemic has forced the industry to adapt from offices with ping pong tables and happy hours to remote workplaces.
This was an opportunity for more possibilities for working women. For women that are caregivers, those responsibilities can limit them when it comes to relocation or working full-time in an office. The opportunity to work remotely changes that dynamic.
Pay transparency in the workplace is on the rise. Many states, including California and Colorado, have passed laws mandating this practice for all businesses. These laws aim to create fair negotiation opportunities for job seekers, diminish bias, and limit the exploitation of workers who have been historically underpaid and undervalued, including women. This trend will help women find tech positions that pay their worth.
Benefits are getting more women-friendly. In addition to working from home, there is a pivot toward more flexibility in daily schedules, a godsend for moms with kids at home. Companies are investing more in mental health benefits, fertility benefits, and offering parental leave to non-birthing parents. Hopefully, these trends continue, and companies add other female-friendly benefits like paying for childcare and mentoring programs specifically for women.
The possibilities for women in tech are endless. You can be sure that Lady Bird Talent will be at the forefront, offering more recruiting services for women in tech roles and expanded training and resources for members.
Best of all, we are planning an incredible virtual event called Hire Women Week. Save these dates, Feb. 28 through March 2, right now. More information will be available soon. We can’t wait to see you there!
Let’s celebrate Women’s Equality Day and Lady Bird Talent’s first year by remembering how far we’ve come and lifting up our female colleagues and friends. As we navigate this new year, let’s carry as we climb. As we find our way in the tech sector, let’s bring other women and girls with us.
“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”