Women Leading Tech is back and we’re with the previous winners to see what they have to say about the awards that are shining a light on women’s accomplishments in the tech industry.
This time we’ve got Andrea Rule from LinkedIn, the winner of the sales award in 2021, to give us the info on the awards, working in the tech industry, gender disparities, and her own experience with maternity leave at LinkedIn.
Rule has spent the past 2 decades at a variety of jobs. She bounced around the world of marketing and sales at a number of media and tech companies and even had a minor stint as a surf instructor.
She’s a supporter of female entrepreneurs, loves working in a diverse team, and is passionate about normalising workplaces that support staff to and from maternity leave. So check out her nuggets of wisdom for what you can come to expect from this year’s talent at the Women Leading Tech awards.
B&T: How do awards like Women Leading Tech help gender equality causes in the industry?
Awards like Women Leading Tech provide an opportunity to raise the profile of women and help bring about the cultural, unconscious bias required for women to achieve recognition and leadership equality.
The experience itself was an interesting one for me: I was honoured to receive the award, but I also found I was relieved.
The awards event was on the eve of taking maternity leave for the second time, and it highlighted to me that I was experiencing a crisis of confidence as I was about to step out of the workforce for a year.
I had every intention of returning to a career I love – and have done so before – but I expect I’m not alone in feeling I needed to prove this not just to myself, but to others.
I’ve reflected on my reaction in the months caring for my daughter Billie and am particularly grateful for the opportunity to have frank conversations with women in our industry that even at the top of our game, we might not feel like we trust our success. Awards can help combat this.
B&T: Why do you think gender-inclusive participation is of particular importance in tech compared to other industries?
The benefits of diverse teams are proven and well understood in boosting organisational performance but I’d argue tech has a second, perhaps more compelling reason to build diverse workplaces.
Technology is in every industry, every workplace and every home, which means 50 per cent of end-users are women, as are those who make purchasing decisions.
Gender-inclusive participation gives the tech industry the best chance to keep pace with changing needs in its customer base.
Our industry, including leadership, should be reflective of our customers.
B&T: Do you think the tech industry is actually making important changes for gender equality, or merely being performative?
The technology industry is not a single cohesive entity. In some areas diversity is making huge headway as people from all backgrounds forge ahead and the leadership capability of women is recognised and valued – social media platforms like LinkedIn, customer experience, dating apps, and design technologies spring to mind.
But I am conscious there are big gaps away from my own field of sales: the number of women studying computer science has plunged since the 1980s and remains less than one fifth of all students.
B&T: It’s important for women to have leadership roles within tech, but how can tech help achieve greater equality for women outside of the industry, in everyday life?
Women might have led the charge to advocate for flexible workplaces and pay parity, but they are changes which benefit everyone.
Equality is not a discussion confined to women, it is an opportunity for all to contribute to, as the benefits are real and measurable.
B&T: What do you think the next decade will look like for tech, particularly if there is greater gender representation in leadership roles?
One facet of gender representation in leadership which is top of mind for me at the moment is setting up workplaces to support staff during the transition to-and-from parental leave.
LinkedIn’s mentoring program, ExpectIn, is an example of how tech organisations can support staff during this transition.
The program was launched in February and connects returning parents with mentors to drive inclusivity and belonging in the workplace.
B&T: What words of wisdom do you have for the women in tech thinking of entering the awards?
Being visible contributors to the tech industry and celebrating success provides real, tangible pathways for those who follow in our footsteps.
It helps build a culture of success in abundance – we can and should support and champion each other with confidence and enthusiasm.
Find out more about the Women Leading Tech Awards HERE.
Tickets to the awards are now on sale HERE.
Entry deadline: Tuesday 22 February 2022
Late entry deadline: Tuesday 1 March 2022
Shortlist announced: Thursday 24 March 2022
Early bird tickets end: Wednesday 30 March 2022
As an initiative created to support gender parity and representation across the tech industry, Women Leading Tech is an event inclusive of non-binary and gender diverse members of the tech industry, as well as any individual identifying as a woman.
Thank you to our Women Leading Tech sponsors:
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