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IWD 2021: Turnitin director on incentivising diverse staff

08 Mar 2021

Comment from Turnitin director of academic partnerships Anna Borek.

What does the IT industry need to do to attract more women in the years ahead?

We need to excite girls from an early age about technology and remove the myth that only males excel in tech and STEM. At the same time, we need to educate men that women have equal right to pursue STEM careers that are typically male-dominated and not ostracise them in schools and universities. 

Companies also have a role to play — they need to provide fair and equitable pay and roles for women and promote the fact that working in tech doesn’t mean you have to be engineers, scientists, etc. You can be in other functional departments such as sales, marketing, finance and customer support. 

Overall, the industry needs to do a better job highlighting women making a difference in technology and how they help change lives. Let’s not just focus on promoting C-suite leaders. 

What do IT companies need to do to ensure that more women have the opportunity to achieve senior leadership roles within their organisations?

Companies need to provide fair and equitable pay and roles for women. They also need to remove bias from women being primary caregivers to their families, and we need to expect more from men. Indeed, male leaders can and should mentor women high-flyers and help them in their career paths.

What is the role of government in attracting more women into STEM-based qualifications?

Governments should support STEM education and careers for girls and women and call on companies/male leaders to do their part in recruiting and hiring women. Policies should be in place to incentivise tech companies to have a more equitable male/female staff ratio, especially at the C-suite level. 

Finally, government agencies themselves should also do their part in recruiting and hiring women and ensuring a more equitable male/female staff ratio.

What can women do to support themselves and their peers to drive a more diverse and inclusive IT industry in Australia and New Zealand?

Let’s start by supporting and inspiring other women within and outside our networks on careers in technology. Be a great role model, advocate and champion within your organisation while at the same time finding and creating opportunities for other women to grow in the organisation. 

Women should learn to talk themselves up (just like their male counterparts) and the work they do to inspire a new generation of women in tech.

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