Article: Empowering women in tech leadership through L&D

Learning & Development

Empowering women in tech leadership through L&D

Despite the growing presence of women in the workforce, their representation in tech leadership roles still falls short.
Empowering women in tech leadership through L&D

Recent years have witnessed a significant increase in female participation in the workforce, and the technology sector is no exception to this trend.  However, there remains considerable headway to be made in this regard by the industry. It is estimated that while 43% of STEM graduates in India are women, they occupy a mere 14% of tech roles in the workforce. 

Institutional barriers and biases have, over time, contributed to this relatively poor representation of women in tech leadership. Transforming this paradigm necessitates empowering women with the skills they require to truly capitalise upon the opportunities that present themselves in their career paths, with Learning & Development playing a key part in this endeavour. Continuous upskilling and reskilling are the keys to ensuring career advancement for female tech professionals, and this can be achieved through targeted women-focused learning strategies.

Mentorship and role models

Mentors and role models, in the form of experienced women tech leaders, have an invaluable role to play in this effort. Through dedicated mentorship programs, these veteran leaders can provide significant guidance to newer entrants to the sector, particularly in terms of building the negotiation, communication, and strategic thinking skills that are critical for success in senior roles. 

Increased visibility of the career journeys and accomplishments of established women tech leaders also serves to inspire aspiring leaders and equip them with the learnings to shatter stereotypes and overcome biases as they seek professional advancement. Thus, in addition to coaching and mentoring, interactions with veteran leaders serve to fast-track the careers of promising women technologists.

Flexible and adaptive learning

Fueled by the growing momentum of AI across all aspects of Human Resource Management, including L&D, customised learning experiences will redefine skill development. AI-driven digital learning management platforms facilitate a new paradigm wherein course content is highly adaptable and can be tailored to the needs of specific individuals or groups. This is immensely valuable from the perspective of women-focused leadership training, enabling L&D teams to design a curriculum that addresses the unique challenges faced by women in the technology sector.

Generative AI adds considerable value to such training initiatives, elevating the quality of learning materials by producing context-rich simulations as well as interactive content. The technology is also highly effective in terms of advanced skills assessment - including evaluation of soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence, which are highly pertinent from a leadership development standpoint. AI-driven skills assessment also provides the added advantage of being bias-free, ensuring objective evaluation, and recommending further training programs and/or learning materials to build on the aspiring leader’s strengths or address gaps.

Flexibility is a powerful enabler for women in the workplace, and this applies to learning initiatives as well. AI-driven learning management systems enable flexible learning models, characterised by adaptive scheduling and the availability of courses on-demand. This not only serves to streamline L&D processes but also markedly reduces the barrier to entry for these programs for aspiring women tech leaders. A flexible approach to L&D is also highly conducive from the perspective of women seeking to upskill or reskill following a career break - empowering them to bring themselves up-to-speed on the latest developments and innovations and ensuring that their career gaps do not hinder their ability to pursue leadership roles.

The road ahead

The business case for gender diversity is clear, with a finding by McKinsey that organisations in the top quartile in terms of gender equality are 25% more likely to have higher-than-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile. In the technology sector, where innovation relies on a diversity of perspectives, the inclusion of women across every level of the organisation is particularly valuable. 

L&D is a critical component in creating a conducive environment to address this gender gap in tech leadership. Flexible and adaptive learning initiatives supported by AI-driven digital platforms, coupled with mentorship programs, will go a long way toward building a more inclusive and diverse ecosystem at the highest echelons of tech.

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Topics: Learning & Development, Leadership, #InternationalWomensDay

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