Five Tips for Supporting the Next Generation of Female Leaders
In honour of International Women’s Day this month, it’s important to focus on advancing the next generation of female voices within the industry. Women bring a different perspective and style of management that has proven to drive and grow business. Yet, according to the 2020 World Economic Forum Gender Gap report, there are still huge challenges when it comes to women’s underrepresentation in emerging and rapidly changing sectors, such as data and AI.
Here are my recommendations for how you can make a difference for emerging female leaders:
1) Get involved with university/college women’s clubs or societies
Offer your time and expertise by running a workshop on networking tips, salary negotiations or how to fight imposter syndrome in the workplace. At the University of Waterloo there are many female-driven groups: Women in Mathematics, Women in Computer Science, Women in Engineering, Women in Science and Waterloo Women’s Impact Network.
2) Donate to schools or organizations that advance gender equity
Consider one of these options (or others): provide corporate scholarships for females in STEM, support outreach program and activities for girls in elementary/high schools, or sponsor an equity hackathon. It’s easy if everyone gives a little. For example, in an organization of 200 people, if everyone donated $5 – that’s a $1,000 scholarship.
3) Prioritize student recruitment
Whether you run a well-established co-op or intern program or are completely new to the idea of hiring students, invest in funneling early talent into your pipeline on an ongoing basis and create a pool of diverse applicants for full-time jobs in the future. In your co-op and intern job postings, highlight your gender equity priorities or organizational statistics – females will notice. If your organization already has gender equity targets, consider how that could be incorporated into your early talent strategy. If you really want to make a statement in building your campus brand awareness, reconsider tip #1.
PRO TIP: In Canada, female students in STEM are eligible for increased wage subsidies through the Government’s Student Work Placement Program funding.
4) Be a strong male ally and pass the mic
Give females visible leadership opportunities such as leading presentations, asking for their opinions in meetings or making strategic introductions based on their career development aspirations. Give females the chance to speak and listen to their feedback and insights.
5) Promote and celebrate your female counterparts
Highlight female Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on your blog and social media, or feature articles written by women for women on industry topics. Co-host an industry panel discussion on how organizations have moved the needle, and openly discuss the challenges and best practices.
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About the author
Tammy Kim-Newman is Business Developer and Tech Talent Specialist at the University of Waterloo, Canada’s #1 university for computer science, engineering and mathematics (Macleans 2021 University Rankings). She has 10+ years supporting industry partners with their early talent strategies, advocating for work-integrated learning, and is enrolled in Waterloo’s Diploma in Gender and Social Justice Program. To start recruiting young talent, you can reach out to Tammy Kim-Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 289-231-3752.
- Women in Mathematics
- Women in Computer Science: donate to WiCS initiatives directly here
- Women in Engineering
- Women in Science
- Waterloo Women’s Impact Network: donate to WWIN directly here