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How Can Men Be Better Allies for Women in Tech?

How Can Men Be Better Allies for Women in Tech?

One of ATHENAWORKS’ missions is to make an impact on the industry by empowering and supporting women in technology and promoting gender equality at all levels of an organization.

I spoke with two male leaders to find out what it’s like to work for a company founded and driven by women:

  Jason Elkin, Co-founder & COO/CPO

Javier Garcia, Delivery Director, Lead Agile Coach

What is it like to work for a company founded and driven by women?

JASON:

The culture is not toxic or driven by testosterone.

JAVIER:

Undoubtedly, it’s different. In my experience, there are fewer decisions made out of ego, more teamwork, and empowerment of the entire group.

How do you ensure that women in the industry (particularly in tech roles) feel supported?

JASON:

I give them the same access, support, and encouragement as men. I make sure they know they are in a safe environment that supports their efforts. Then, I hold them to the same standards as anyone else.

JAVIER:

We adopt a development process that is inclusive by definition, avoiding closed-door decisions, and promoting team discussions and moderations.

We value different roles within the team: backend, frontend, design, testing, etc. These are the first points that allow achieving diversity within a team. Another goal is to maintain remote teams, which can certainly help with work-life balance and maintain a neutral office culture.

We encourage open communication and utilize all available tools such as meetings (in-person or video/audio), chat, email, etc. All means of communication are valuable to enable continuous feedback cycles at different speeds, where different profiles contribute.

Lastly, we ensure that one-on-one meetings are truly valuable, allowing us to act on feedback in both directions. Above all, we support the ideas and opinions of each person in the team.

Based on your experience, how are ATHENAWORKS teams working to build more inclusive and equitable spaces both within the organization and in the technological solutions we offer?

JASON:

We are obsessed with creating inclusive teams with gender balance and equitable pay. This is setting a new standard in the IT services industry.

JAVIER:

Every week, we try to implement the points mentioned above: openness, closeness, valuing the diversity of teams, and aiming for innovative technological solutions for clients with interesting products.

How can men be better allies for women in tech?

JASON:

Don’t treat them as fragile or as if they need to be saved. Don’t expect them to act like men, and don’t assume we know how they feel. Ask, communicate, and take feedback in a humble way.

JAVIER:

Question how and why one makes the decisions they make.
From a managerial position: How do you evaluate people on your teams? Therefore, what kind of leadership do you promote, and what real opportunities are you offering? Do you take the time to get to know your people and create a diverse and flexible culture?
As a team member: How do you participate, and how do you help others participate? Do you point out to your leaders or managers the lack of diversity? Do your actions help perpetuate toxic stereotypes?

While the number of women in tech increases each year, gender inequality remains an urgent and persistent problem.

Creating an inclusive and diverse work environment cannot be achieved through passive observation or mere words. We all have a role to play in making this happen.

Being an ally for women to achieve diversity in organizations can be achieved by taking different actions, from giving them the opportunity to intervene and share their ideas in a meeting, to ensuring that women can have leadership roles within a company.