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Welcome to Iron Bow's TechSource, a blog about the issues facing the government and industry today and the technologies being adopted to help overcome them.

Women in Leadership: Why Representation in Tech Matters

Josie Smoot, Director of Marketing & Communications, Iron Bow Technologies

July 9, 2019  |  What We Do Matters


Women’s roles have come a long way in the last couple decades, climbing their way up the corporate ladder in the male-dominated technology market. However, there is still a long way to go.  Women are still underrepresented at nearly every level in the corporate pipeline from managers on up to the c-suite.

“We all know that representation of diversity and inclusion are super important to business growth. You can’t talk to one of the large companies about increasing revenues without a diverse workforce,” Rachel Mushahwar, Vice President, General Manager US Enterprise, Government and Cloud Industries at Intel, said at Iron Bow’s most recent Women in Leadership event.

Rachel hit on points that highlighted, at the most basic level, how women still aren’t involved in the technology that affects their everyday lives. She went on to share a Stack Overflow developer survey showing 90 percent of the respondents identified as male. What this means to us, is the most fundamental coding—including artificial intelligence and machine learning—is being done with very little input from women.

Rachel included in her presentation a quote that strikes at the heart of how much of an effect this could have. “We’re ending up coding into our society even more bias, and more misogyny and less opportunity for women. We could get transported back to the dark ages, pre-women’s lib, if we don’t get this right,” Tabitha Goldstaub, cofounder of CognitionX, said in a 2018 Teen Vogue story.

Rachel, a wife and mother of four children, has been able to succeed in a male-dominated industry. But the reality is that it hasn’t been easy. Unfortunately, many women are afraid to talk about how hard it is to balance their personal lives, develop a career and lead an organization.

“I’ve shown up to work with one blue shoe and one black shoe, because I was so exhausted. It’s completely chaotic,” Rachel said. “While at the same time I would sit down and have a conversation with other women executives and they all looked perfect to me. They’d tell me how great everything was, leaving me to walk away discouraged. It’s really important to share and have these raw conversations about how hard it is to balance work and life.”

The fact is you have those days where you have to hand off work to your team members because you need to take care of personal business, she went on to say.

Her message wasn’t lost on us here at Iron Bow. From our CEO all the way down, we foster an environment that gives women and all of our employees the support needed to succeed, while still being able to manage their personal lives.

We understand that cultivating a diverse community in the workplace can serve as an incredible way to lift each other up.

So while things have certainly gotten better, we’re taking cues from Rachel—an inspiring leader who has shown that women can take their place atop the ranks of tech executives, but also not be afraid to ask for help when they need it.


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