September 17, 2018

Big Elephant on the Table regarding Women in Tech: Culture, A CATA Op-Ed by Cindy Gordon, National Spokesperson, CanWIT (Women in Tech)

Elephant on the Table: Culture
One of my passions is to engage our communities in discussions about diversity and inclusiveness and the imperative to drive better performance. We need to face up to the fact that there are not enough women are in our Tech Sector, and we are not keeping them in our tech sector.

Consider how tech savvy women were profiled by Deloitte Research (2018):

  • Canadian women are more likely to own a smartphone than men (82 percent versus 77 percent), more likely to own a tablet or fitness band, and equally likely to own a computer.
  • Women are driving mobile e-commerce, buying on a mobile device 25 percent than men compared at 18 percent.
  • Women are 10 percent more active than men in Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat.
  • Although Canadian men play games more on computer consoles
  • Women prefer mobile gaming, compared to only 28 percent of men

This being said about women being very tech savvy in Canada, here are some major issues, that every C level executive in North America in the tech sector have a leadership responsibility to wake up too, and strive daily to make a major difference in closing these gaps:

  • Women in tech industry are earning on average 29% less than their male peers.
  • Women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company 62% of the time.
  • Women in tech companies have on average only 1% of the available board positions.
  • VC’s invested last year just $1.46B in women-led tech start-ups, while investment in over $58B in male-led investments

Why is this so imperative?

The research (e.g., Sodexo, McKinsey, Harvard, Fortune etc.) is overwhelming conclusive that Gender Parity enables companies to achieve:

  • Higher Operating Margins
  • Better Employee Retention
  • Better Client Retention
  • Better Safety Record
  • Higher Employee Engagement

In addition, according to recent McKinsey Research, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to generate financial performance above their national industry median that their peers in the bottom quartile for gender diversity.

So, what is the Big Elephant on the Table regarding Women in Tech? All the research is pointing to one single factor: culture.

Culture always trumps. Over 60% of women in the technology industry have unwanted advances, and have experienced blatant verbal and physical harassment. Blatant objectification was highlighted recently in the Women in Tech Elephant in the Valley report.  

I listened to both men and women share their stories of harassment, fear of losing their jobs, passion for Artificial Intelligence to solve breast cancer in med tech, seek out safe places to talk to other men and women who want to strive to make our world a better place, as well as concerns we need stronger social parenting skills and changes in our school systems at JK to ensure gender parity is top of mind. The conversation was rich, thoughtful and concerned about how to drive more transformation in our Technology Sector.

My message to all men and women today is that in order to transform our technology industry in North America we have to have more courage and bring a stronger advocacy voice forward. It is no longer good enough to talk about this issue. We all need to act and change what is in our power to change.

Look at what SalesForce, a #1 leading CRM global company, recently did. The company made a strategic decision to investigate equity pay differences to ensure their women were compensated equally to their male counterparts. They fixed the major delta. The goodwill and brand amplification for doing what is not only fair but was just plain right will impact SalesForce’s loyalty and retention rates of its many talented women. This is a role model example for other companies to follow. All it takes is a simple audit and doing what is not only right but demonstrates trusted values.

I can only imagine what the great female suffragettes had to face striving to secure women’s legal right to vote. It has been over 25 years and our progress on achieving equity for women in technology is not improving, it has flatlined, and we must Step Up!

Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO & Founder

Cindy Gordon is the Founder and CEO of SalesChoice, an AI SaaS Predictive and Prescriptive Guiding Selling Company. She is also an expert in SaaS, AI, business innovation, early-stage software commercialization & sales /marketing practices. She has held senior leadership and partnership roles in global B2B Enterprises, including: Accenture, Xerox, Citicorp and Nortel Networks.

In addition, Cindy has also been a founder, VC, an angel and founder in emerging software companies. She is currently involved in include: Corent Technology, CoursePeerKula, LyfeUp, and TouchTown TV.  Cindy is also the Founder of Helix Commerce International Inc., a strategy innovation firm which serviced global B2B clients  like: CIBC, Davis and Henderson, IBM, INGLGS Electronics, MTS Allstream, Rogers and TD.

Internationally, she is recognized for her innovation  and thought leadership in: SaaS, Collaboration, AI,  technology emergence, with over 13 books in the market. She is also a 2012 recipient of the Governor’s General Award for Innovation. She is a 2017 recipient of many awards, including the: STARTUPCANADA National Entrepreneurship Award, CATA & E&Y Sara Kirke Award for Outstanding CEO: Innovation & Community Leadership, and most Creative CEO Award from Insights Success.  She is also a Advanced Analytics Expert at the International Institute of Advanced Analytics. She is also currently working on her 14th book on The AI SPLIT: The Perfect World, or The Perfect Storm.

With NFPs, Cindy has a very active community track record including current roles as: AI DIRECTORY, Co-Founder, and Global Chair, CATA (National Media Spokesperson for Innovation, AI, and STEM), Board Director, RSI, and a Mentor for the Enterprise Sales Forum (ESF). Past Roles include: Invest CrowdFund  Canada (ICC), National Chair, Women in Technology (CANWIT, CATA), Founding Member, Toronto Maple Leaf Angels. She has also been a Former Board Director for Nightwood Theatre, The Bluma Appel St. LawrenceTheatre. She has also been active in the Canadian Cancer and Prostrate Association, and The United Way.

Cindy’s passion is the constant pursuit of sustainable innovation and making differentiated experiences to make our world an incredible place. She also loves family time, global travelling, writing, cooking international foods, scuba diving, and squash.

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