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Overview

Today there is a lot of buzz around feminism however even today Tech is considered to be a man’s arena. We as a group felt that women in tech is a group which is still under-represented and were curious to know more about what lies behind the glass doors.

Team

Jon, Soojin and I

Tools

Research Methods and Synthesis Methods

Scope

Research insights, HMW’s, Framework, and Areas of Opportunity. Wbelieve that our findings would make a rich launching point for a potential future project.

Course Advisor

1.5 min Read

Big Question

What is success and aspiration for women in tech? 

Interview

We interviewed a set of 10 participants across a wide range of demographics like age, seniority to get the best understanding possible of the system and the people in it. Below are some stories I was fortunate to be a part of. 

I have to justify my opinions way more than my male colleagues

Monica, 29, Data Scientist

I'm sick of this 'bro-culture'! It's everywhere I've worked!

Lucy, 37, Financial Engineer

I want to be introduced as an engineer not the wife of an engineer

Anna, 32, Software Developer

It feels as if you can't be you anymore

Jasmine, 27, Data Scientist

My parents would tell me that I should grow up to be beautiful

Telly, 67, Computer Scientist

Women who are assertive end up being called bitchy

Jackie, 41, HR

Cultural Probes

1

Behavioral Sampling

We texted participants twice a day to simply ask how they were feeling and they could share whatever was in their mind. This wound up being a really rich source of data.

2

Experience Drawing

We asked the participant to draw the tech industry in however way they liked.

This method was really helpful because it made several inherent feelings more explicit and tangible, something which was surprising to the participants as well.

3

Letter to your Younger Self

The exercise helped the participants open up and shed insight into some of their earlier comments. With the additional context, we were able to understand them with much greater empathy.

Synthesis

In order to synthesize the information collected through research, we employed several synthesis methods. 

Insights

1

Each work environment has a “Playbook” - an unwritten set of norms established and understood by the people in power - that can make or break an individual’s success.​

2

When success coexists with maintaining a sense of self, it is community. When it does not, it is assimilation.

3

Gender norms are invoked when a member of the group in power feels that the status quo is threatened.

 

Going a step deeper, we converged our insights into a framework. A framework that would help us map and better communicate these women's stories and help understand how they'd define success and satisfaction for themselves.

The Success and Satisfaction Framework

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Framework Testing

We tested the framework with few of our participants by asking them to map themselves on this framework. 

I Like

...that the framework covers all the areas in my life and it was amazing to have something to map myself on because I now was reflecting more and could see the output in a more explicit form. 

I Wish

...maybe that the framework were more quantitative so that it would be easier for me to plot myself on it. 

Opportunity Framework

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How do women in tech define success and aspiration?

...I don’t want them to treat me easier because I'm a woman. Just treat me as an individual.

And that is success and aspiration for Women in Tech.

Reflection

When I started with this project, I knew that there are biases with respect to growth against women however when I started researching I soon realized how that was just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Sometimes its those small moments of discomforts, those subtle tones, those nuances that are often missed, and need to be fought for.